lactone lac·tone (lāk'tōn')
An anhydride formed by the removal of a water molecule from the hydroxyl and carboxyl radicals of hydroxy acids.
|lactone (lāk'tōn') Pronunciation Key
Any of various organic esters derived from organic acids by removal of water. Lactones are formed when the carboxyl (COOH) group of the acid reacts with a hydroxyl (OH) group in the same acid, releasing water and causing the carbon atom to join to the hydroxyl's remaining oxygen atom, forming a ring. Vitamin C, the antibiotic erythromycin, and many commercially important substances are lactones.
any of a class of cyclic organic esters, usually formed by reaction of a carboxylic acid group with a hydroxyl group or halogen atom present in the same molecule. Commercially important lactones include diketene and beta-propanolactone used in the synthesis of acetoacetic acid derivatives and beta-substituted propanoic (propionic) acids, respectively; the perfume ingredients pentadecanolide and ambrettolide; vitamin C; and the antibiotics methymycin, erythromycin, and carbomycin.
Learn more about lactone with a free trial on Britannica.com.