How do zwitterions behave in different solutions and solid states?

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In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of zwitterions, specifically in the context of alanine. It is clarified that the NH3+ and COO- groups in alanine are in a neutral form, but can react with alkali or acid solutions. It is also mentioned that -NH3+ is an acid and -NH2 is a base. The conversation then moves on to discussing the Brønsted-Lowry theory of acids and bases. It is ultimately concluded that the zwitterion form of alanine may not be strictly present in its solid form.
  • #1
crays
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Hi, I'm wondering how zwitterions works? For example, alanine.

NH3+-CH(CH3)-COO-

This is when it is in a neutral form right? But my teacher taught me that, when you add it into a alkali or acid solution. Let's take alkali for instance, the OH- reacts with the NH3+. But by my knowledge, OH- would mean a basic solution and NH3+ is a base. How could a base react with a base?
 
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  • #3


Thanks for the reply. I'm clear now. So when alanine is in solid form, will it have the zwitterion form? the NH3+ end and COO- end? Or does this only occur in water/acid/alkali ?
 
  • #4


I doubt it will be strictly zwitterion. However, without knowing exact crystallic structure it can be difficult to predict what is going on in the solid. Seems logical that hydrogen bonding between COOH and NH2 plays some role in the crystal structure.
 

1. What are zwitterions?

Zwitterions are molecules that have both a positive and negative charge, making them electrically neutral overall. This is because they contain both acidic and basic functional groups.

2. What is the structure of NH3+-CH(CH3)-COO- zwitterions?

NH3+-CH(CH3)-COO- zwitterions have a structure that contains both an acidic carboxyl group (COO-) and a basic amine group (NH3+). The two functional groups are connected by a carbon chain (CH).

3. How are NH3+-CH(CH3)-COO- zwitterions formed?

NH3+-CH(CH3)-COO- zwitterions are formed when an acidic carboxyl group reacts with a basic amine group, resulting in a neutral molecule with both positive and negative charges.

4. What is the significance of NH3+-CH(CH3)-COO- zwitterions in biological systems?

NH3+-CH(CH3)-COO- zwitterions are important in biological systems because they are able to maintain a stable pH within cells. They are also able to interact with other molecules and play a role in various biochemical processes.

5. How do NH3+-CH(CH3)-COO- zwitterions differ from other molecules?

NH3+-CH(CH3)-COO- zwitterions differ from other molecules in that they have both positive and negative charges, making them electrically neutral. This allows them to have unique properties and interactions compared to other molecules with only one type of charge.

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