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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 56 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LACTONES, the cyclic esters of hydroxy acids, resulting from the internal elimination of water between the hydroxyl and carboxyl groups, this reaction taking place when the hydroxy acid is liberated from its salts by a mineral acid. The a and 0-hydroxy acids do not form lactones, the tendency for lactone formation appearing first with the 7-hydroxy acids, thus 'yhydroxybutyric acid, CH2OH•CH2•CH2•CO2H, yields 7-butyro- 1 lactone, CH2•CH2•CH2•CO.O. These compounds may also be prepared by the distillation of the 7-halogen fatty acids, or by the action of alkaline carbonates on these acids, or from, 3y-or yb-unsaturated acids by digestion with hydrobromic acid or dilute sulphuric acid. The lactones are mostly liquids which are readily soluble in alcohol, ether and water. On boiling with water, they are partially reconverted into the hydroxy acids. They are easily saponified by the caustic alkalis. On the behaviour of lactones with ammonia, see H. Meyer, Monatshefte, 1899, 20, p. 717; and with phenylhydrazine and hydrazine hydrate, see R. Meyer, Ber., 1893, 26, p. 1273; L. Gattermann, Ber., 1899, 32, p. 1133, E. Fischer, Ber., 1889, 22, p. 1889. y-Butyrolactone is a liquid which boils at 206° C. It is miscible with water in all proportions and is volatile in steam. y-valero- I lactone, CH3•CH•CH2•CH2•CO.O, is a liquid which boils at 207-208° C. 6-lactones are also known, and may be prepared by distilling the S-chlor acids. LA CUEVA, JUAN DE (155o?-16o9?), Spanish dramatist and poet, was born at Seville, and towards 1579 began writing for the stage. His plays, fourteen in number, were published in 1588, and are the earliest manifestations of the dramatic methods developed by Lope de Vega. Abandoning the Senecan model hitherto universal in Spain, Cueva took for his themes matters of national legend, historic tradition, recent victories and the actualities of contemporary life: this amalgam of epical and realistic elements, and the introduction of a great variety of metres, prepared the way for the Spanish romantic drama of the 17th century. A peculiar interest attaches to El Infamador, a play in which the character of Leucino anticipates the classic type of Don Juan. As an initiative force, Cueva is a figure of great historical importance; his epic poem, La Conquista de Betica (1603), shows his weakness as an artist. The last work to which his name is attached is the Ejemplar poetico (1609), and he is believed to have died shortly after its publication. See the editions of Saco de Roma and El Infamador, by E. de Ochoa, in the Tesoro del teatro espanol (Paris, 1838), vol. i. pp. 251-285; and of Ejemplar poetico, by J. J. Lopez de Sedano, in the Parnaso espanol, vol. viii. pp. 1-68; also E. Walberg, " Juan de la Cueva et son Ejemplar poetice " in the Acta Universitatis Lundensis (Lund, 1904), vol. xxix.; " Poemes inedits de Juan de la Cueva (Viaje de Sannio,) " edited by F. A. Wulff, in the Acta Universitatis Lundensis (Lund, 1886–1887), vol. xxiii.; F. A. Wulff, " De la rimas de Juan de la Cueva, Primera Parte " in the Homenaje ci Menendez y Pelayo (Madrid, 1899), vol. ii. pp. 143-148. (J. F.-K.)
End of Article: LACTONES
LACTIC ACID (hydroxypropionic acid), C3H603

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