L-Malic acid

October 12, 2020
You can pick me from a tree.
What molecule am I?

Malic acid, a hydroxydicarboxylic acid, is found in all forms of life. It exists naturally only as the L-enantiomer. It should not be confused with the similar sounding maleic  and malonic acids.

L-Malic acid gives many fruits, particularly apples, their characteristic flavor. It is often referred to as “apple acid”. The word malic is derived from the Latin mālum, for which Malus, the genus that contains all apple species, is also named.

The global market size for malic acid (natural and manufactured1) is ≈US$200 million; the US market is ≈$35 million. The primary end use in the United States is for flavoring beverages, foods, and confectionaries, with much smaller quantities used in cosmetics and personal care products. The price of malic acid ranges from US$0.90 to $10.00/kg, depending on the purity, quantity, and end use.

1. The manufactured product is racemic.

 

L-Malic acid hazard information*

Hazard class** Hazard statement
Skin corrosion/irritation, category 2 H315—Causes skin irritation Chemical Safety Warning
Serious eye damage/eye irritation, category 2A H319—Causes serious eye irritation Chemical Safety Warning
Specific target organ toxicity, single exposure, respiratory tract irritation, category 3 H335—May cause respiratory irritation Chemical Safety Warning

* Compilation of three safety data sheets.
** Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
Explanation of pictograms.

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L-Malic acid fast facts

CAS Reg. No. 97-67-6
SciFinder
nomenclature
Butanedioic acid, 2-hydroxy-, (2S)-
Empirical formula C4H6O5
Molar mass 134.09 g/mol
Appearance White crystalline powder, granules, or needles
Melting Point 130 ºC
Water solubility  558 g/L
Chemical Abstract Service - a division of ACS

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