from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One of the products (C4H2N2O4) of the decomposition of uric acid by nitric acid.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Chem.) An oxidation product of uric acid. It is of a pale reddish color, readily soluble in water or alcohol.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun biochemistry An oxidation product of uric acid, 2,4,5,6(1H,3H)-pyrimidinetetrone, capable of inducing diabetes by destroying pancreatic tissue


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • Alloxan was used in the production of the purple dye murexide, discovered by Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1776. Murexide is the product of the complex in-situ multistep reaction of alloxantin and gaseous ammonia. Murexide results from the condensation of the unisolated intermediate uramil with alloxan, liberated during the course of the reaction.

    Scheele sourced uric acid from human calculi (such as kidney stones) and called the compound lithic acid. William Prout investigated the compound in 1818 and he used boa constrictor excrement with up to 90% ammonium acid urate.

    In the chapter "Nitrogen" of his memoir The Periodic Table, Primo Levi tells of his futile attempt to make alloxan for a cosmetics manufacturer who has read that it can cause permanent reddening of the lips. Levi considers the droppings of pythons as a source for uric acid for making alloxan, but he is turned down by the director of the Turin zoo because the zoo already has lucrative contracts with pharmaceutical companies, so he is obliged to use chickens as his source of uric acid. The synthesis fails, however, "and the alloxan and its resonant name remained a resonant name."


    November 30, 2018