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Butyric acid

Trivial name for butanoic acid, which belongs to the group of carboxylic acids. It is formed in nature by butyric acid fermentation. The salts and esters are called butyrates (also butanoates). Butyric acid is found in particular in the butter that gives it its name (in large quantities when it spoils), in many types of cheese, in wood vinegar and in human sweat. Butyric acid smells extremely unpleasant and disgusting like vomit and is a cause of bad breath in humans. In wine, it belongs to the volatile acids (as methyl butyric acid ) and is contained in very small quantities (3 mg/l). In beer, it makes a positive "cheesy" tasting contribution to the aroma with a much higher proportion. Butyric acid dissolves very well in water and also in ethanol and glycerine, which is used to produce butyric acid ethyl ester (butyric acid plus ethanol). Surprisingly, this has a very aromatic, positive, characteristic pineapple smell and is used in the perfume industry as well as for the production of liqueur. Butyric acid is also used in the production of medicines, pesticides and even plastics. Butyric acid taint is a synonym for the wine defect lactic acid taint. See also under acids contained in wine and all wine ingredients under flavouring substances and total extract.

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