What is L-Tartaric Acid E334? Uses, Type, Safe, Side Effects

What is L-Tartaric Acid E334? Uses, Type, Safe, Side Effects


Table of Contents

L-tartaric acid (E334) is used in the winemaking process, so that the wine doesn’t get oxidized. It’s not just any type of L-tartaric acid as there are four different types and each serves a unique purpose in the winemaking process. Let’s learn about all four different types of L-tartaric acid (E334) below, and how it can be used to prevent oxidation. I’ll also discuss safety issues, potential side effects, and give you some tips along the way to have you working with L-tartaric acid like a pro in no time!

What is L-tartaric acid?

L-Tartaric acid is a white crystalline powder. It has a molecular formula C4H6O6 and a molar mass of 176.126 g/mol.

L-Tartaric acid is a natural organic compound that has two asymmetric carbon atoms, one on each end of the molecule. This means that it can exist as two different stereoisomers, or versions of itself with the same chemical formula but different structures – enantiomers. These enantiomers are named D and L, where D stands for dextrorotary (rotating plane polarized light clockwise) and L stands for levorotary (rotating plane polarized light counterclockwise).

Pure D-(+)-tartaric acid (2S,3S)-(+)-tartaric acid or d(+)-tartaric acid is naturally found in wine grapes, where it occurs as an intermediate in wine fermentation by yeast during alcoholic fermentation.

Four types of L-tartaric acid

Tartaric acid or 2,3-dihydroxysuccinic acid is a white crystalline solid with a melting point of 183°C (361°F) and a density of 1.58 g/cm3 at 20°C (68°F). It is soluble in water to about 40% by weight, but insoluble in ethanol. Tartaric acid has a molecular weight of 170.12 g/mol and its molecular formula is C4H6O6.

Tartaric acid is a natural organic acid found in many plants and fruits. It is an organic compound that can be used as an acidulant, preservative and flavoring agent in foods and beverages. Tartaric acid occurs naturally in various fruits including grapes, tamarinds and acorns. Its main source is the grape genus Vitis. The tartaric acid is obtained by the fermentation of grape must (juice).

The four major types of tartaric acid are L-Tartaric Acid, D-Tartaric Acid, DL-Tartaric Acid and Meso Tartaric Acid.

1. L-Tartaric Acid

L-Tartaric acid is the most common type of tartaric acid that is used in the food industry. It is also known as L(+)-tartaric acid because it has a “plus” sign next to it on its chemical formula. This means that when it dissolves in water, it will produce a solution with a pH of 6-7 (pH stands for potential hydrogen). It is created by fermenting grapes for about 8 months, which creates a mixture of L(+)-tartrate and D(-) tartrate. Then after separating them from each other through filtration or crystallization, only the L(+) tartrate remains as an isolated compound. This type of acid can be found in wine making, baking and even beer brewing processes.

Natural Source

The L tartaric natural source is a natural source of potassium, calcium and magnesium. It is also rich in vitamin B1, B2 and B6. The L tartaric natural source is an essential part of the diet for your dog.

The L tartaric natural source is a natural source of potassium, calcium and magnesium. It is also rich in vitamin B1, B2 and B6. The L tartaric natural source is an essential part of the diet for your dog.

It helps to maintain healthy bones and joints as well as supporting the health of their teeth and gums. It also contains antioxidants which help to protect against free radicals which can damage cells in the body.

How is L-tartaric acid made?

There are generally three methods by which this ingredient is produced: by-products of winemaking/grape, enzyme process, and microbial fermentation. The first method is commonly used by European manufacturers because grapes are abundant, whereas China is the largest producer of the second method due to its abundance of raw materials.

1. Winemaking byproduct

A part of tartaric acid precipitates as cream of tartar crystals (potassium bitartrate), or more affectionately, “wine diamonds”. Cream of tartar is recrystallized in the first step of production as the temperature rises and its solubility increases.
It is then reacted with calcium hydroxide and calcium chloride to produce calcium tartrate (insoluble).
By reacting calcium tartrate with sulfuric acid, L tartaric acid is obtained. As well as grapes, it can be extracted from them.

Here are the four-step reaction equations for your convenience:

  1. Tartar powder (recrystallized) → KHC4H4O6
  2. 2KHC4H4O6 + Ca(OH)2 → CaC4H4O6 + K2C4H4O6 + 2H2O
  3. K2C4H4O6 + CaCl2 → CaC4H4O6 + 2KCl
  4. CaC4H4O6 + H2SO4 → CaSO4 + C4H6O6

In 2016, the total production quantity was around 35, 000MT, with 86% of it produced in Europe, according to the European Parliament.

2. Enzyme process

In China, enzyme production is the most widely used commercial production method of L tartaric acid because of its high purity, high conversion efficiency, and safety. Here is a flow chart of the manufacturing process:


  1. By using hydrogen peroxide, maleic anhydride is converted into sodium cis-epoxysuccinate.
  2. By hydrolyzing the sodium cis-epoxysuccinate using cis-epoxysuccinate hydrolase (ESH), tartaric acid is formed.

3. Fermentation method

Using glucose as a raw material, the glucose is oxidized to 5-keto-D-gluconate (5-KGA), and then catalyzed to L- tartaric acid.


2. D-Tartaric Acid

D-Tartaric Acid is a white crystalline powder or colorless crystals. It is odorless, tasteless and soluble in water and ethanol. D-Tartaric acid can be used to prevent corrosion of metal parts, as well as an effective antioxidant and anti-aging agent, it is also used as a preservative for food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

D-Tartaric acid (DTA) is a naturally occurring organic compound with the chemical formula C4H6O6. It is a carboxylic acid, a dibasic organic compound that occurs naturally in many plants. It occurs in grapes, tamarind seeds, the West Indian cherry fruit tree, the kiwi fruit plant, the jujube fruit tree and some other plants.

Tartaric acid was first isolated from wine by Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1785 by dissolving it in sulfuric acid and adding potassium hydroxide; this produces potassium hydrogen tartrate (KHT), which can further react with sodium carbonate to form sodium hydrogen carbonate (NaHCO3).

3. DL-Tartaric Acid

DL-Tartaric acid is a natural product that is used in the food and pharmaceutical industries. It is an organic acid that is widely found in plants, where it functions as a natural preservative against microbes and fungus. It can be found in grapes, potatoes, coffee beans and certain other plants.

This product has been used for centuries as a food preservative. Today, it is used as an additive in wine making to help stabilize the wine during fermentation. It can also be used to make potassium bitartrate, which is commonly known as cream of tartar.

DL-Tartaric acid is an important component of many products because of its ability to enhance flavor and improve texture. This product can also be used as an emulsifier in ice cream products to prevent them from becoming too hard when frozen or during freezing processes.

4. Meso Tartaric Acid

Meso Tartaric Acid is a fine, white powder. It can be used to make food and beverage products such as wine and beer. It can also be used in personal care products, such as creams and lotions.

Meso Tartaric Acid is a white crystalline powder with a melting point of 139°C. Meso Tartaric Acid has a tart taste and a low odor. It is soluble in water, ethanol, and propylene glycol; slightly soluble in acetone; insoluble in hexane, ether, ethyl acetate, and benzene; slightly soluble in diethyl ether; very slightly soluble in chloroform and petroleum ether; freely soluble in hot sodium hydroxide solution but not in cold sodium hydroxide solution; freely soluble in concentrated sulfuric acid; very slightly soluble in hydrochloric acid (1:1).


Appearance Colorless or translucent crystalline particles or powder with a sour taste.
Other names
  • 2,3-dihydroxysuccinic acid
  • Thearic acid
  • Uvic acid
  • Racemic acid
CAS number 13463-67-7
Chemical formula C4H6O6
Molecular weight 150.09
Melting point 168 °C and 170 °C



  • In water: Polar and highly water soluble, 20°C, 139g/100ml (L form) and 18.4g/100ml (DL form).
  • In organic solvents: 33g/100ml (L form) and sparingly soluble (DL form) in ethanol.


It is a weak dicarboxylic acid, but it is stronger than malic and citric acid. A PKa1 of 2.98 and a PKa2 of 4.40 are observed at 25°C respectively for L form.


The PH value was 3.18 with a concentration of 1 mmol/L at 25°C, and 2.55 with a concentration of 10 mmol/L.

What’re the application of tartaric acid?

Tartaric acid is a white crystalline powder with a sour taste and a specific gravity of 1.834. It is odorless and soluble in water. It forms salts with many metals, but is especially good at forming potassium and sodium salts.

It is found in grapes, tamarinds, and other fruits. In wine making it helps stabilize the color of red wines.

In chemistry it can be used as an antioxidant, clarifying agent, emulsifier, flavoring agent (sourness), stabilizer (color), thickener (suspension).

In food industry it can be used as a preservative (to prevent mold growth on fruit juice concentrates), as an acidifier (in canned vegetables), as an emulsifier/stabilizer for icings/cream fillings/sauces/puddings/dairy products, as a firming agent for jellies, jams and preserves; as an antistaling agent for syrups or sweet sauces; as an acidifier for pickled cucumbers; in cookies or cakes to improve texture; in salad dressings to improve stability; in baked goods to improve volume; in ice cream mixes to improve body;

Tartaric Acid is Used in Wine for What Reason?

Tartaric acid is the main acid in wine and is often used to adjust the pH of wine. Tartaric acid is a naturally occurring substance that is found in grapes and other plants. When winemakers refer to tartaric acid, they are usually referring to potassium bitartrate, which is a salt formed when tartaric acid combines with potassium hydroxide (which is an alkaline substance).

Tartaric acid lowers the pH of wine and helps maintain it at around 3.4-3.6. This is important because if the pH were to rise above 4, bacteria could grow in the wine and spoil it.

Tartaric acid also helps preserve wine by preventing oxidation during storage; this allows winemakers to make wines with longer shelf lives than would otherwise be possible without adding additional preservatives such as sulfur dioxide or sorbates (such as potassium sorbate).

The Raw Material for the Production of Emulsifiers

As a result of its reaction with fatty acids and glycerol, it produces the following three food emulsifiers:

  • The tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (TATEM, E472d)
  • Diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (E472e, DATEM)
  • This mixture is made up of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids that are esters of acetic and tartaric acids (MATEM, E472f).


In cosmetics and personal care products, it works as a buffering and masking agent.


It can be used as an excipient and to enhance the taste of effervescent tablets.

Is tartaric acid safe to eat?

Tartaric acid is a natural organic compound found in many plants and fruits, including grapes and tamarinds. It is a colorless salt that is used as a food preservative and flavoring. Tartaric acid has been used in the manufacture of wine since ancient times and was first isolated from wine by scientists in 1769.

Tartaric acid is also known by its chemical name, potassium bitartrate, or potassium hydrogen tartrate (KHT or KHTO4). It forms when tartaric acid reacts with potassium hydroxide solution. This reaction produces potassium bitartrate crystals that are soluble in water and insoluble in alcohols.

Tartaric acid has been approved for use as a food ingredient by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1958. It is used to make products like ice cream, chewing gum, baked goods and gelatin desserts. It may also be used as an antioxidant or preservative in some foods like beer.


Generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for direct human food use, L-(+)-tartaric acid is a firming agent, flavor enhancer, flavoring agent, pH control agent and humectant in food with no limitations other than current acceptable manufacturing practice.


A food additive listed under the “Additives other than colours and sweeteners” category in Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012, L-tartaric acid (E334) belongs to this category.

Approved uses

E334 is listed in group I, which means most of its applications are general. There are a number of foods that may contain L-tartaric acid, including:

  • The canned or bottled form of fruit and vegetables
  • There are jams, jellies, and marmalades made from chestnuts and sweetened chestnut puree made from them
  • Cocoa and Chocolate products
  • Fresh (pre-cooked) pasta
  • Potato Gnocchi
  • Table-top sweeteners in tablets
  • Baby food for infants and young children, including biscuits and rusks

UK Food Standards Agency

This item is categorized as “Others”

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

With the code number 334, it is an approved ingredient in Australia and New Zealand.


Function Class: food additives, flavouring agent, acid, antioxidant synergist and sequestrant.

Permissible daily intake: Group ADI 30 mg/kg bw for it and its salts of sodium, potassium, and potassium-sodium set in 1977.

Are there any side effects with tartaric acid?

Tartaric acid is one of the most commonly used acids in baking and cooking. It’s also used as a food additive and preservative, particularly in wine and beer production. Tartaric acid is found naturally in grapes, but it can also be made synthetically.

Tartaric acid has many uses, but it can also cause side effects if consumed improperly.

The following are some possible side effects of tartaric acid:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heartburn (when taken orally)

What is L-tartaric acid derived from?

L-tartaric acid is a white or colorless, crystalline, water-soluble acid. It is one of the most important organic acids in nature and also one of the most important commercial food acids.

L-tartaric acid is found mainly in grapes, but it can also be extracted from other plants. The main sources include wine lees (the residue left after wine fermentation), apples, apricots, cherries, plums, peaches and prunes.

What is the structure of L-tartaric acid?

L-tartaric acid is a naturally occurring, white crystalline powder. It has a molecular formula of C4H6O6, a molecular weight of 176.12 g/mol, and a chemical structure of HOOC-(CH2)4-COOH. It is soluble in water, ethanol and diethyl ether.

What can I substitute for L-tartaric acid?

If you need to substitute for L-tartaric acid, you can use many different acids.

One of the most common ones is malic acid. This is what’s used in many wine making recipes, so it’s easy to find if you’re looking for an alternative. It has a similar taste profile as L-tartaric acid and is often used in recipes that call for baking powder, which contains sodium bicarbonate. You’ll want to make sure that whatever recipe you’re using is designed for malic acid instead of tartaric.

You can also use citric acid or acetic acid (vinegar). You may need to adjust the amount you use in each recipe based on how acidic your substitute is compared to L-tartaric acid. For example, if you’re substituting vinegar for tartaric acid in a cake recipe, you may need more vinegar than called for in order to achieve the same level of sourness.

How long does L-tartaric acid last?

L-tartaric acid is a type of tartaric acid. It is also known as DL-tartaric acid, which is a stereoisomer of D-tartaric acid. This product has many uses in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. For example, it may be used as an antioxidant in baked goods or as an emulsifier in ice cream.

L-tartaric acid has a shelf life of about two years when stored at room temperature and away from light. The crystals form slowly over time, but they do not pose any health hazards when consumed.

A number of factors can affect how long l-tartaric acid lasts. These include:

  • The amount of light it is exposed to (light exposure can cause the crystals to form faster)
  • The amount of moisture in the air (moisture can make it harder for the crystals to form)

Where to buy L-tartaric acid?

L-tartaric acid is an organic acid found in many plants, especially in grapes. It is also produced by the fermentation of wine, and is present in many foods such as cheese. It is used as a food additive, mainly to preserve the color of dried fruits and unsulfured dried apricots.

L-Tartaric acid can be purchased from several online retailers including Amazon, eBay and Walmart. The price will vary depending on the quantity you purchase and where you purchase it from.


Overall, L-tartaric acid has a very extensive and versatile history in the world of science. It is one of the most commonly used chemicals in scientific research and industrial applications, though it is also commonly found in a number of foods, including wine. Though its versatility and widespread use are undeniable, much more research is necessary before we understand this chemical compound as well as we understand some other common compounds.

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng

Sophia Feng, Marketing Manager of Grade Chemical, specializes in writing food chemical article, custom chemical article, industry chemical blog.

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