Morning name: succinic acid

Yesterday’s morning name. And, no, I have no idea why it popped into my head.

From Wikipedia:

Succinic acid (… IUPAC systematic name: butanedioic acid; historically known as spirit of amber) … The name derives from Latin succinum, meaning amber, from which the acid may be obtained. … Spirit of amber was originally obtained from amber by pulverising and distilling it using a sand bath [now there are ways to synthesize the stuff]

… Succinic acid is used in the food and beverage industry, primarily as an acidity regulator. … It is also sold as a food additive and dietary supplement, and is generally recognized as safe for those uses by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

A 11/11/14 posting here looks at amber (ultimately from trees), at ambergris (from whales), and at the liquidambar (or sweetgum) tree.

From Wikipedia:

Amber is fossilized tree resin (not sap), which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone, amber is made into a variety of decorative objects. Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewelry.

Versatile stuff. Here’s an assortment of raw (unprocessed) amber in chunks:

2 Responses to “Morning name: succinic acid”

  1. Bob Richmond Says:

    The third in the series of dicarboxylic acids, long chains with carboxyl (-COOH) groups at each end and a chain of methylene groups (CH2) in the middle. Oxalic, malonic, succinic, glutaric, adipic, pimelic, suberic, azelaic, sebacic.

    How do I happen to remember that? In 1957 my organic chemistry prof (Harvard’s Louis Fieser, himself) taught us the mnemonic “oh my, such good apple pie, serve a slice!”

    (Have you noticed that in the dismal world of health care, that the word is universally misspelled as the curious portmanteau “neumonic”?)

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      About “neumonic” for “mnemonic”: apparently this is common enough that when you google on “neumonic”, the search switches to “mnemonic”. And there are sites for “nursing neumonics” that supply information about mnemonics.

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