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In chemistry, racemization is the conversion of an enantiomerically pure mixture (one where only one enantiomer is present) into a mixture where more than one of the enantiomers are present.
If the racemization results in a mixture where the Chiral molecules have two forms (at each point of asymmetry), which differ in their optical characteristics: The levorotatory form (the (−)-form) will rotate the plane of polarization of a beam of light to the left, whereas the dextrorotatory form (the ( )-form) will rotate the plane of polarization of a beam of light to the right.
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Racemization can occur through some of the following processes: -forms) has been used as a way of dating biological samples in tissues with slow rates of turnover, forensic samples, and fossils in geological deposits. In 1843, Louis Pasteur discovered optical activity in paratartaric, or racemic, acid found in grape wine.
Racemization can be achieved by simply mixing equal quantities of two pure enantiomers.
Racemate may have different physical properties from either of the pure enantiomers because of the differential intermolecular interactions (see Biological Significance section).
The change from a pure enantiomer to a racemate can change its density, melting point, solubility, heat of fusion, refractive index, and its various spectra.
Of note, the form of sugars (primarily glucose) are usually the biologically reactive form.
This is due to the fact that many biological molecules are chiral and thus the reactions between specific enantiomers produce pure stereoisomers.-amino acid residues that polymerize into short polypeptides which can be found in bacterial cell walls.When there are both equal numbers of dextrorotating and levorotating molecules, the net optical rotation of a racemate is zero.