, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 38–48

Pasteur — The harbinger of stereochemistry

Louis pasteur, tartaric acid and stereochemistry
General Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12045-007-0005-6

Cite this article as:
Nagendrappa, G. Reson (2007) 12: 38. doi:10.1007/s12045-007-0005-6


Twenty five years before the tetrahedral structure for carbon was proposed in 1874 to explain the optical activity and other properties of organic compounds, Louis Pasteur discovered the existence of enantiomerism in tartaric acid. He separated the oppositely shaped crystals of tartaric acid by handpicking, found their optical rotation to be in opposite directions, and concluded that this optical property was attributable to the existence of two oppositely shaped tartaric acid molecules. Thus the new subject of stereochemistry was heralded.


Pasteur stereochemistry tartaric acid glucose structure Sharpless epoxidation grape fermentation 

Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BangaloreIndia

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