natural, widely occurring, plant acid, giving the strong tart taste
and the characteristic flavour to acidic fruits such as grapes, lemons
and oranges. In fruit it can be free or either combined with potassium,
calcium or magnesium. Sometimes deposited as crystals in wine.
dicarboxylic acid, also called dihydroxybutanedioic acid, the free acid
was first isolated in 1769 by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, although, in a partially
purified form tartar was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans.
L-tartaric acid is manufactured as a by-product of the wine industry.
The sediments, and other waste products from fermentation are heated
and neutralised with calcium hydroxide and then the precipitated calcium
tartrate is treated with sulphuric acid to produce free tartaric acid.
Can also be extracted from tamarind pulp.
acids and the common tartrate salts are all colourless, crystalline
solids readily soluble in water.
In food it is used as: an antioxidant where as a synergist it increases
the antioxidant effect of other substances: for adjusting acidity in
frozen dairy products, jellies, bakery products, dried egg whites, sweets,
beverages, jams and preserves and wine: diluting food colours: as a
sequestrant, chemically combining with undesirable oxidants and rendering
them inactive: an acid in some baking powders.
also be found in cocoa powders, sweets and tinned asparagus, fruit and
per cent of ingested tartaric acid is destroyed by bacteria in the intestine,
with the fraction that is absorbed into the bloodstream being excreted
in the urine.
amounts can cause gastro-enteritis. No known adverse effects in small