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E336 (Potassium L-tartrate)

CAS NO:868-14-4
EC NO:212-769-1

E336 (Potassium L-tartrate), dipotassium tartrate or argol has formula K2C4H4O6. 
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is the potassium salt of tartaric acid. 
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is often confused with potassium bitartrate, also known as cream of tartar. As a food additive, it shares the E number E336 with potassium bitartrate.

General description
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is found naturally in grapes. 
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate)s removal is necessary during wine making as it can precipitate, which is undesirable.

E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) monobasic may be used as a reductant during the synthesis of noble metal nanoparticles in the presence of linear polymers as protective agents.

E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is the potassium salt of L-tartaric acid.
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) contains a L-tartrate(2-).

Technical Information
Appearance :Powder or crystalline
Physical State :Solid
Solubility :Soluble in water (50 mg/ml). Insoluble in alcohol.
Storage :Store at room temperature
Melting Point :172.5° C
Boiling Point :200° C at 1013 hPa
Density :1.95 g/cm3 at 25° C
Optical Activity :α20D +10, c = 2 in 10% HCl

E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is used for stabilizing egg whites, whipped cream and for anti-caking and thickening.
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is utilized for the prevention of crystallization of sugar syrups and reduces the discoloration of boiled vegetables. 
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is an active component in baking powder. 
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is used in household items in association with lemon juice or white vinegar to clean metals such as brass, aluminum and copper. Furthermore, it serves as a primary reference standard for a pH buffer.

E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is a important organic intermediate. 
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) can be used in agrochemical, pharmaceutical and dyestuff field.

E336 (Potassium L-tartrate), is a white powder. 
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is natural and is manufactured from natural raw materials. Manufacturing production process is followed by an exhaustive quality control guided through the expertise of our technical staff. The totality of the equipment has been designed by the most advanced technology and computer systems and built on stainless steel. 
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is included in the list of FOOD ADDITIVES under code E-336(ii).

Boiling point: 200ºC
Solubility in water: Very soluble in H2O. One g dissolves in 0.7 ml of water.
Density at 20ºC: 1.98
Specific rotation: +26º to +28º
Description: white powder or small crystals

Physicochemical Information
Density    1.954 g/cm3
Flash point    210 °C
Melting Point    250 °C (decomposition)
pH value    3.4 - 3.7 (H₂O, 20 °C) (saturated solution)
Bulk density    720 kg/m3
Solubility    5.7 g/l

Appearance (Colour)    White
Appearance (Form)    Crystalline powder
Solubility (Turbidity) 4% hot aq. solution    Clear
Solubility (Colour) 4% hot aq. solution    Colourless
Assay    min. 98%
Loss on drying    max. 0.5%
Chloride (CI)    max. 0.05%
Sulphate (SO4)    max. 0.1%

About this substance
Helpful information
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is registered under the REACH Regulation and is manufactured in and / or imported to the European Economic Area, at ≥ 100 to < 1 000 tonnes per annum.

E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is used by consumers, by professional workers (widespread uses), in formulation or re-packing, at industrial sites and in manufacturing.

Consumer Uses
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is used in the following products: pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and personal care products, inks and toners, perfumes and fragrances and washing & cleaning products.
Other release to the environment of E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is likely to occur from: indoor use as processing aid and outdoor use as processing aid.

Article service life
ECHA has no public registered data on the routes by which E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is most likely to be released to the environment. ECHA has no public registered data indicating whether or into which articles the substance might have been processed.

Widespread uses by professional workers
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is used in the following products: metal surface treatment products, metal working fluids, explosives, paper chemicals and dyes, plant protection products, polishes and waxes, textile treatment products and dyes and welding & soldering products.
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is used for the manufacture of: chemicals, fabricated metal products and electrical, electronic and optical equipment.
Other release to the environment of E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is likely to occur from: indoor use (e.g. machine wash liquids/detergents, automotive care products, paints and coating or adhesives, fragrances and air fresheners) and outdoor use.

Formulation or re-packing
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is used in the following products: laboratory chemicals, metal surface treatment products, pH regulators and water treatment products and metal working fluids.
Release to the environment of E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) can occur from industrial use: formulation of mixtures and formulation in materials.

Uses at industrial sites
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is used in the following products: laboratory chemicals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and personal care products, pH regulators and water treatment products, fillers, putties, plasters, modelling clay, fertilisers, hydraulic fluids, lubricants and greases, perfumes and fragrances, photo-chemicals, water softeners, water treatment chemicals and extraction agents.
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is used in the following areas: health services and formulation of mixtures and/or re-packaging.
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is used for the manufacture of: chemicals, food products, electrical, electronic and optical equipment and fabricated metal products.
Release to the environment of E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) can occur from industrial use: as processing aid, in processing aids at industrial sites and in the production of articles.

Release to the environment of E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) can occur from industrial use: manufacturing of the substance.


E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate, with formula KC4H5O6, is a byproduct of winemaking. In cooking it is known as cream of tartar.

E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) used for the galvanic tinning of metals and as a reducing agent in glass making.

colorless or slightly opaque crystal or white crystal powder, pleasant acid taste

White crystalline powder.



In food

In food, potassium bitartrate is used for:
Stabilizing egg whites, increasing their warmth, tolerance, and volume
Stabilizing whipped cream, maintaining its texture and volume
Anti-caking and thickening
Preventing sugar syrups from crystallizing by causing some of the sucrose to break down into glucose and fructose
Reducing discoloration of boiled vegetables

Additionally, it is used as a component of:
Baking powder, as an acid ingredient to activate baking soda
Sodium-free salt substitutes, in combination with potassium chloride
A similar acid salt, sodium acid pyrophosphate, can be confused with cream of tartar because of its common function as a component of baking powder.

For dyeing hair, potassium bitartrate can be mixed with henna as the mild acid needed to activate the henna.

E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is the United States' National Institute of Standards and Technology's primary reference standard for a pH buffer. Using an excess of the salt in water, a saturated solution is created with a pH of 3.557 at 25 °C (77 °F). Upon dissolution in water, E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) will dissociate into acid tartrate, tartrate, and potassium ions. Thus, a saturated solution creates a buffer with standard pH. Before use as a standard, it is recommended that the solution be filtered or decanted between 22 °C (72 °F) and 28 °C (82 °F).

Chemical formula    KC4H5O6
Molar mass    188.177
Appearance    white crystalline powder
Density    1.05 g/cm3 (solid)
Solubility in water    0.57 g/100ml (20 °C)
6.1 g/100ml (100 °C)
Solubility    soluble in acid, alkali
insoluble in acetic acid, alcohol
Refractive index (nD)    1.511

E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) has a low solubility in water. 
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) crystallizes in wine casks during the fermentation of grape juice, and can precipitate out of wine in bottles. The crystals (wine diamonds) will often form on the underside of a cork in wine-filled bottles that have been stored at temperatures below 10 °C (50 °F), and will seldom, if ever, dissolve naturally into the wine.

These crystals also precipitate out of fresh grape juice that has been chilled or allowed to stand for some time. To prevent crystals forming in homemade grape jam or jelly, the prerequisite fresh grape juice should be chilled overnight to promote crystallization. 
The E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) crystals are removed by filtering through two layers of cheesecloth. The filtered juice may then be made into jam or jelly.In some cases they adhere to the side of the chilled container, making filtering unnecessary.

The crude form (known as beeswing) is collected and purified to produce the white, odorless, acidic powder used for many culinary and other household purposes.

E336 (Potassium L-tartrate), also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate, is a compound once found in many kitchens under the guise of cream of tartar, which has possibly the most delightful origins of any substance. 
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is a waste product from the winemaking industry, just as yeast extracts such as Marmite are unwanted by-products of beermaking.


*food anticaking agent
-An anticaking agent that is used to reduced the tendency of particles of food to adhere to one another.
-An agent that produces a soft formed stool, and relaxes and loosens the bowels, typically used over a protracted period, to relieve constipation. Compare with cathartic, which is a substance that accelerates defecation. A substances can be both a laxative and a cathartic.
*raising agent
-A food additive which liberates gas so as to increase the volume of a dough or batter, resulting in a lighter and softer finished product.
*food acidity regulator
-A food additive that is used to change or otherwise control the acidity or alkalinity of foods. They may be acids, bases, neutralising agents or buffering agents.
*food humectant
-A humectant that is used as a food additive to prevent foodstuffs from drying out.
*food stabiliser
-A food additive that is used to preserve the structure of food.

E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is generally immediately available in most volumes. High purity, submicron and nanopowder forms may be considered.

E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is the potassium acid salt of tartaric acid, a carboxylic acid. 
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) is found in common grape.

IUPAC names
cream of tartar
potassium (2R,3R)-2,3,4-trihydroxy-4-oxobutanoate
potassium 3-carboxy-2,3-dihydroxypropanoate
Potassium hydrogen L-tartrate
potassium hydrogen tartarate
Potassium hydrogen tartrate
potassium hydrogen tartrate
Potassium hydrogen tartrate

Potassium hydrogen L(+)-tartrate
(2R,3R)-2,3-dihydroxybutanedioic acid, potassium salt
(2R,3R)-3-Carboxy-2,3-dihydroxypropanoate de potassium [French] [ACD/IUPAC Name]
[R-(R*,R*)]-2,3-Dihydroxybutanedioic Acid Monopotassium Salt
Butanedioic acid, 2,3-dihydroxy-, potassium salt, (2R,3R)- (1:1) [ACD/Index Name]
Cream of tartar
Kalium-(2R,3R)-3-carboxy-2,3-dihydroxypropanoat [German] [ACD/IUPAC Name]
L(+)-Potassium hydrogen tartrate
L(+)-Tartaric acid monopotassium salt
L-(+)-Tartaric acid monopotassium salt
L-Tartaric acid monopotassium salt
MFCD00065392 [MDL number]
Monopotassium tartrate
Potassium (2R,3R)-3-carboxy-2,3-dihydroxypropanoate [ACD/IUPAC Name]
Potassium bitartrate [USAN] [USP] [Wiki]
Potassium hydrogen (+)-tartrate
Potassium hydrogen L-tartrate
Potassium hydrogen tartrate [JAN] [Wiki]
Potassium L-bitartrate
E336 (Potassium L-tartrate) monobasic
Potassium tartrate
tartaric acid monopotassium salt


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