From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia


2,3-Butanediol is a organic compound that is classified as a vicinal diol (glycol). The compound exists as three isomers, which are 2,3-butanediol, (R,R)-(-)-2,3-butanediol, and (S,S)-(+)-2,3-butanediol. It is a colorless, water-soluble liquid that is used as a solvent and in the manufacture of various products.

Structure and Properties[edit | edit source]

2,3-Butanediol has the chemical formula C4H10O2. The compound consists of a four-carbon chain with two hydroxyl (-OH) groups on adjacent carbons. The presence of these hydroxyl groups makes 2,3-butanediol a diol. The compound's molecular weight is 90.12 g/mol.

The three isomers of 2,3-butanediol differ in the spatial arrangement of the hydroxyl groups. In the (R,R) and (S,S) isomers, the hydroxyl groups are on the same side of the molecule, while in the meso isomer, they are on opposite sides. This results in different physical and chemical properties for each isomer.

Production[edit | edit source]

2,3-Butanediol is produced industrially by the hydrogenation of bio-based platform chemicals such as succinic acid, glutaric acid, and levulinic acid. It can also be produced by the fermentation of sugars by certain strains of bacteria, including Klebsiella pneumoniae and Enterobacter aerogenes.

Applications[edit | edit source]

2,3-Butanediol is used as a solvent in the chemical industry and in the manufacture of plastics, resins, and rubber. It is also used in the production of printing inks and paints. In addition, 2,3-butanediol is used in the food industry as a humectant, emulsifier, and flavoring agent.

Safety[edit | edit source]

2,3-Butanediol is generally considered safe for use in food and cosmetics. However, it can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract if not handled properly. Ingestion of large amounts can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.

See Also[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD