The "antiscorbutic" factor of fresh fruits, which prevents the development of the typical symptoms of scurvy in humans, is a carbohydrate derivative known as vitamin C or ascorbic acid. This substance is not a carboxylic acid, but a lactone, and owes its acidic properties (and ease of oxidation) to the presence of an enediol grouping. It belongs to the \(L\) series by the glyceraldehyde convention:
Most animals are able to synthesize vitamin C in their livers but, in the course of evolution, man has lost this capacity.
Contributors and Attributions
- John D. Robert and Marjorie C. Caserio (1977) Basic Principles of Organic Chemistry, second edition. W. A. Benjamin, Inc. , Menlo Park, CA. ISBN 0-8053-8329-8. This content is copyrighted under the following conditions, "You are granted permission for individual, educational, research and non-commercial reproduction, distribution, display and performance of this work in any format."