Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1708-4


In chemistry a zwitterion (from the German “hybrid ion”), or inner salt, is a compound containing both a formal positive and a formal negative charge on different atoms. As the molecule contains two opposite charges, it is electrically neutral. Some common examples of zwitterions are amino acids such as glycine (at physiological pH, as the state of the ionizable groups is pH dependent), although many amino acids contain a third ionizable group. Most zwitterions are fairly soluble in water and thus poorly soluble in many organic solvents.

See Also


Organic Solvent Negative Charge Bioorganic Chemistry Ionizable Group Opposite Charge 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI)Tokyo Institute of TechnologyMeguro-kuJapan
  2. 2.Institute for Advanced StudyPrincetonUSA
  3. 3.Blue Marble Space Institute of ScienceWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Center for Chemical EvolutionGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA