Mutarotation of Gelatin


SUBSTANCES which exhibit optical activity in solution do so as a result of molecular dissymmetry, the most common cause of which is the presence of an asymmetric atom in the molecule. In the crystalline condition, optical activity may be exhibited by substances which do not contain dissymmetric molecules. In this case, the optical activity is due to a dissymmetric arrangement of the units which make up the crystal and disappears when the crystal is dissolved, because the structural dissymmetry is thus destroyed. Certain substances with dissymmetric molecules show a combination of these two effects, structural dissymmetry being superposed on the molecular dissymmetry in the crystalline condition.

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BALFE, M. Mutarotation of Gelatin. Nature 145, 429 (1940).

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