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Tartaric acid has been known to humanity for many centuries. It was isolated in 1769 by a Swedish chemist named Carl Wilhelm Scheele. People have used it for many years in various ways. Ancient Greeks and Romans first identified tartaric acid as a by-product of winemaking. As the use of wooden casks for the collection of wine increased, so did the collection of crude tartar. Some winemakers began using wooden casks for wine storage in order to collect crude tartar more efficiently. Since then, the importance of tartaric acid in food preparation/ production steadily grew.
Tartaric acid, also known as dihydroxy-succinic acid, is a white crystalline organic acid. Its chemical formula is HO2CCH(OH)CH(OH)CO2H or its basic formula is C4H6O6. It occurs naturally in many plants, fruits and vegetables. To name a few; grapes, tamarinds, bananas, apricots, apples, and avocados. It is one of the main acids found in wines. Tartaric acid is a dihydroxy derivative of dicarboxylic acid. It was isolated from potassium tartrate, known to the ancients as tartar.
Salts of tartaric acid are known as tartrates and are often salt forms of medications. Tartaric acid has been used to make effervescent salts, and when combined with citrate can improve the taste of oral medications. Other known salts are; cream of tartar and Rochelle salt. Tartaric acid played an important role in the discovery of chemical chirality. Which is a geometric property of some molecules and ions. A chiral molecule is non-superimposable on its mirror image. Tartaric acid has an ability to rotate polarized light, and it was discovered by Jean Baptiste Biot in 1832.
Dihydroxybutanedioic acid is another name for tartaric acid. It is a dicarboxylic acid one of the most widely distributed of plant acids. It is also obtained from wine fermentation. The sediments and other waste products from fermentation are heated and neutralized with calcium hydroxide, it is then treated with sulfuric acid to produce free tartaric acid. There are three stereoisomeric forms of tartaric acid: dextrorotatory tartaric acid (D-tartaric acid) which is found in grapes and other fruits, racemic tartaric acid (an equal mixture of D- and L- tartaric acid) is prepared commercially. Levorotatory tartaric acid (L-tartaric acid) obtained by resolution of racemic tartaric acid.
Tartaric Acid Uses and Applications in the United States
Tartaric acid may not be widely known but wine drinkers would recognize it quickly as the source of “wine diamonds,” which are the small crystals that sometimes form on the cork. It is a common chemical in many industries throughout the world.
Tartaric acid has many functions, but it is primarily used to create several different salts, including tartar emetic, cream of tartar, and Rochelle salt. It is used in food, hair, skin, medicine, cleaning, and in cosmetic products. It is used in a variety of industries, including, but not limited to food, textile printing, tanning, ceramics, photography, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.
Tartaric acid has many uses in personal care products, including soap, suntan products, hair care products, and skin care products. It is used as a pH adjuster for the finished product. Industrial uses of tartaric acid include leather tanning, mirror silvering, ceramics, photography, and blue printing. It is also used in several medical applications including the manufacture of solutions that are used to determine glucose levels. Rochelle salt is used as a laxative. It also acts as a skin coolant and cream of tartar is an effective cleansing agent. In non-permanent hair dyes, it can act as a mild acid.
Tartaric acid is an important food additive, it can be used in many foods except untreated foods. When it is added in foods it gives a sour taste which serves as an antioxidant. It is often used to enhance the quality and stability of foods. Tartar cream is typically used to stabilize egg white, and it is an ingredient in baking powder. The tartness of wine comes from the sour taste of tartaric acid.
Tartaric acid is often used as an acidulant in grape and lime-flavored drinks, gelatin desserts, jams, jellies, and hard sour confectionery. It is commonly used for “must” adjustments because it is a stronger acid than malic and citric acid and less susceptible to breakdown during the fermentation process. It is a great source of antioxidants so it can boost the immune system. To improve the overall health of a person, one could eat fruits that contain tartaric acid. Because in the long run it can keep a person healthier and fit. A second health benefit of tartaric acid is that it can aid with digestion and fight flatulence. It also can increase the rate healthy nutrients flow through the bloodstream. Another great benefit of tartaric acid is that is improves glucose intolerance, which is useful to those who are sensitive to glucose.
Tartaric Acid and its Salts
There are a variety of uses for tartaric acid and its salts. To name a few; pH control agent, chelating agent, use as an acidulant, emulsifier, flavor enhancer and modifier, anti-caking agent, stabilizer and firming agent. One of the salts from tartaric acid is cream of tartar. It has many uses and if it is stored in a cool, dry environment, it can last a long time. It helps to control the pH of fermenting grape juice and acts as a preservative for wine. It is a major component in baking powder. When it is combined with baking soda it will react to help baked goods rise.
There are many culinary uses for cream of tartar. It is used as a stabilizing agent for many things. It is added to egg whites to increase their stability and volume. To candies or frosting to help give them a creamier texture. It is added to whipped cream to stabilize and maintain the texture. It helps prevent crystallization of sugar syrups and it reduces discoloration of boiled vegetables. Cream of tartar is also used as a component of baking powder and a sodium-free salt substitute.
There are many household uses for cream of tartar. It can be used to deter ants from gathering on the sidewalk or in your driveway. It can be used as a stain remover by adding lemon juice to make a paste, next apply the paste to the item with stains. Let it sit for an hour or two and then clean the item with water. Cream of tartar is also a great all-purpose kitchen cleaner. By adding white vinegar to make a paste then go to town on any dirty surface like a burner, grout lines, or the oven. It can also be used to restore scratched dishes by making a paste with water. Lastly, it can shine stainless steel by using 1 cup of white vinegar and ¼ cup of cream of tartar.
The second salt from tartaric acid is Rochelle salt. It has been used as a laxative in the medical field. It can also be used in the process of silvering mirrors. It is used in electroplating and as a combustion accelerator in cigarette paper. It is also an ingredient of Fehling’s solution, which is a reagent for reducing sugars.
The third salt from tartaric acid is tartar emetic, it has been known as a powerful emetic and was used in the treatment of schistosomiasis and leishmaniasis.
Tartaric Acid Uses in Foods
Tartaric acid is known to enhance flavors of fruits and foods. It is used in making sour gummies because it is a souring agent. It is also a natural preservative for jams and soft drinks. It is a leavening agent for deserts. It can be used as a preservative for bread-making. It is also used as a effervescence for table waters.
Tartaric Acid Uses in Baking
Tartaric acid and its byproducts are useful in baking. Because of its acidic properties, it is used in baking powder in a combination with baking soda. When it reacts with sodium bicarbonate, carbon dioxide gas is produced. This causes many baking products to rise without the need of active yeast cultures. This will change the texture of food. Tartaric acid is used in pancake, cookie, and cake mixes.
Tartaric Acid Uses in Winemaking
Tartaric acid is used to alter acidity in the winemaking process. It is a natural component of grapes, which are commonly used in the production of wine. Sometimes when wines are not made using grapes, a tablet of non synthetic or synthetic tartaric acid is added to wine in order in increase the acidity. Also, tartaric acid is known to have antimicrobial properties. This is an important component in wine and other foods. It creates an unfavorable environment for microorganisms to survive and grow. Buy commercial wine making supplies at LabAlley.com
Tartaric Acid Uses in Dyeing and Printing
Tartaric acid is an optional addition to the alum mordant process in natural dying. It will provide different shades to the dying process. It is used to soften and protect protein fibers and brighten shades. Blueprints are made with ferric tartrate as the source of blue ink.
Tartaric Acid Used in Industrial Industry and Other Industries
Tartaric acid is used in the farming industry as a chelating agent for complexing micronutrients in soil fertilizer. It is also used in the metal industry for cleaning metal surfaces consisting of aluminum, copper and iron.
Tartaric acid is safe for human consumption in low doses. It is used in food products, however in large doses it can be harmful. Tartaric acid is a muscle toxin, it works by inhibiting the production of malic acid and in high doses causes paralysis and death. Tartaric acid can affect the digestive system, it can lead to nauseous feeling, abdominal pain, inflammation and gastrointestinal infections. Over consumption could lead to increased thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and gastrointestinal inflammation.
The FDA has reviewed the safety of tartaric acid as of April 1, 2019. They consider it to be Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). The FDA has approved the use of tartaric acid in over the counter antacid drug products.
There are first aid measures to take into consideration when handling tartaric acid. If inhalation occurs, find fresh air, rest in a half-upright position. Artificial respiration may be needed. If the skin encounters tartaric acid, remove contaminated clothes and wash the skin with water and soap. If tartaric acid comes in contact with the eyes. Rinse with a lot of water for several minutes, then seek medical attention. If ingestion occurs, rinse mouth, do not induce vomiting. Seek medical attention.