MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: what makes up vinigar and juice straight from a lemon?

Date: Thu Dec 5 09:29:55 2002
Posted By: Greta Hardin, Secondary School Teacher, Science
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 1039052921.Gb

I'm afraid I cannot tell you all the ingredients in vinegar or lemon juice.  
Both are 
complex organic solutions with lots of stuff in them.  What I CAN tell you are 
active ingredients in each that are of interest as stain fighters:  
Vinegar is primarily acetic acid [CH3COOH]  If you are using distilled white 
- it is almost entirely acetic acid and water.   That would be my choice as a 
stain remover as other vinegars might contain things that will stain (for 
basalmic vinegar contains tannins that stain quite well - among other things, 
are used for tanning leather).  Oh and vinegar that you buy in the store is 
5% acid.
Lemon Juice's primary stain fighting ingredient is citric acid 
[HOOCCH2C(OH)(COOH)CH2COOH H2O].   Lemons are quite a higher in acid - 
30% - 45% citric acid depending on the variety.  However, this doesn't mean that 
lemons will be automatically better.

I'd watch carefully watch as to what kinds of stains do what with which acid.

Good Luck - and check your spelling before you turn in your report!


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