|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.
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