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ERIC Number: EJ829524
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
"As Simple as Possible, but Not Simpler"--The Case of Dehydroascorbic Acid
Kerber, Robert C.
Journal of Chemical Education, v85 n9 p1237-1242 Sep 2008
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is an essential nutrient, whose metabolic roles depend on its function as a reducing agent. Textbooks routinely assign its oxidized form, dehydroascorbic acid, a tricarbonyl structure that is highly improbable in aqueous solution and inconsistent with its colorless appearance. The actual structures of the various forms of dehydroascorbic acid have been known for at least a quarter of a century so that the continued use of the oversimplified tricarbonyl structure is hard to excuse. The experimental results on studies of oxidized forms of ascorbic acid are summarized here, and a plea is entered for accurate descriptions of chemical structures in this and other cases, even at the cost of some simplicity. A group exercise based on dehydroascorbic acid, which we have used in second-semester organic chemistry, is included in the online material. (Contains 3 figures, 2 tables, and 3 schemes.)
Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society. Subscription Department, P.O. Box 1267, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-1267. Tel: 800-691-9846; Tel: 856-931-5825; Fax: 856-931-4115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A