IUPAC names
(2R,3R)-2,3,4-Trihydroxybutanal (D)
(2S,3S)-2,3,4-Trihydroxybutanal (L)
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.008.643 Edit this at Wikidata
EC Number
  • 209-505-2
  • InChI=1S/C4H8O4/c5-1-3(7)4(8)2-6/h1,3-4,6-8H,2H2/t3-,4+/m0/s1 checkY
  • InChI=1/C4H8O4/c5-1-3(7)4(8)2-6/h1,3-4,6-8H,2H2/t3-,4+/m0/s1
  • (D): OC[C@@H](O)[C@@H](O)C=O
  • (L): OC[C@H](O)[C@H](O)C=O
Molar mass 120.104 g·mol−1
Appearance Light yellow syrup
highly soluble
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Erythrose is a tetrose saccharide with the chemical formula C4H8O4. It has one aldehyde group, and is thus part of the aldose family. The natural isomer is D-erythrose; it is a diastereomer of D-threose.[2]

Fischer projections depicting the two enantiomers of erythrose
Fischer projections depicting the two enantiomers of erythrose

Erythrose was first isolated in 1849 from rhubarb by the French pharmacist Louis Feux Joseph Garot (1798-1869),[3] and was named as such because of its red hue in the presence of alkali metals (ἐρυθρός, "red").[4][5]

Erythrose 4-phosphate is an intermediate in the pentose phosphate pathway[6] and the Calvin cycle.[7]

Oxidative bacteria can be made to use erythrose as its sole energy source.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Merck Index, 11th Edition, 3637
  2. ^ "4.5: Diastereomers". Chemistry LibreTexts. 2015-04-01. Retrieved 2021-11-17.
  3. ^ Obituary of Garot (1869) Journal de pharmacie et de chimie, 4th series, 9 : 472-473.
  4. ^ Garot (1850) "De la matière colorante rouge des rhubarbes exotiques et indigènes et de son application (comme matière colorante) aux arts et à la pharmacie" (On the red coloring material of exotic and indigenous rhubarb and on its application (as a coloring material) in the arts and in pharmacy), Journal de Pharmacie et de Chimie, 3rd series, 17 : 5-19. Erythrose is named on p. 10: "Celui que je propose, sans y attacher toutefois la moindre importance, est celui d'érythrose, du verbe grec 'ερυθραινω, rougir (1)." (The one [i.e., name] that I propose, without attaching any importance to it, is that of erythrose, from the Greek verb ερυθραινω, to redden (1).)
  5. ^ Wells, David Ames; Cross, Charles Robert; Bliss, George; Trowbridge, John; Nichols, William Ripley; Kneeland, Samuel (1851). Annual of Scientific Discovery. Boston: Gould, Kendall, and Lincoln. p. 211. Retrieved 11 December 2014. erythrose discovery.
  6. ^ Kruger, Nicholas J; von Schaewen, Antje (June 2003). "The oxidative pentose phosphate pathway: structure and organisation". Current Opinion in Plant Biology. 6 (3): 236–246. doi:10.1016/S1369-5266(03)00039-6. PMID 12753973.
  7. ^ Schwender, Jörg; Goffman, Fernando; Ohlrogge, John B.; Shachar-Hill, Yair (9 December 2004). "Rubisco without the Calvin cycle improves the carbon efficiency of developing green seeds". Nature. 432 (7018): 779–782. Bibcode:2004Natur.432..779S. doi:10.1038/nature03145. PMID 15592419. S2CID 4401215.
  8. ^ Hiatt, Howard H; Horecker, B L (13 October 1955). "D-erythrose metabolism in a strain of Alcaligenes faecalis". Journal of Bacteriology. 71 (6): 649–654. doi:10.1128/jb.71.6.649-654.1956. PMC 314578. PMID 13345750. Retrieved 11 December 2014.