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Ascorbic acid

This article should be merged with Vitamin C.

Ascorbic acid is an organic acid and antioxidant otherwise known as Vitamin C. In 1937 the Nobel Prize for chemistry was awarded to Walter Haworth for his work in determining the structure of ascorbic acid, (It was shared with Paul Karrer, who received his award for work on vitamins), and the prize for Medicine that year went to Albert Szent-Györgyi for his studies of the biological functions of ascorbic acid.

Structural formula


Formula: C6H8O6
SMILES string: C1(O)=C(O)C(=O)OC1(C(O)CO)

Melting point: 190-192 °C.


Ascorbic acid is easily oxidized and so is used as a reductant in photographic developer solutions (among others) and as a preservative.

The L enantiomer of ascorbic acid is also known as vitamin C (the name ascorbic comes from its property of preventing and curing scurvy). All primates, except humans, and a few other species, such as the Guinea Pig, can synthesise vitamin C from glucose.

Ascorbic acid and its sodium, potassium, and calcium salts are commonly used as antioxidant food additives. These compounds are water soluble and thus can't protect fats from oxidation: for this purpose, the fat-soluble esters of ascorbic acid with long-chain fatty acids (ascorbyl palmitate or ascorbyl stearate) can be used as food antioxidants.\n