One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A colorless pungent liquid organic acid produced in some forms of fermentation and used for inhibiting the growth of mold in bread.
- ‘Each population cage contained two standard 240-ml food bottles, each containing 50 ml of standard fly medium containing sucrose, corn meal, yeast, agar, benzoic acid, methyl paraben, and propionic acid.’
- ‘Odors used included amyl acetate, which smells like bananas; phenyl ethyl alcohol, which smells like roses; propionic acid, which smells like vinegar; eugenol, which smells like cloves; and citral, which smells lemony.’
- ‘Two other simple carboxylic acids are propionic acid and butyric acid.’
- ‘Ovaries were gently pressed with a coverslip in 50% propionic acid, dipped in liquid nitrogen, and sequentially dehydrated in 50%, 70%, 95%, and 100% ethanol.’
- ‘Such breads are almost always chock full of preservatives like sorbic acid and propionic acid, which help to ward off mold.’
Mid 19th century: propionic from French propionique, from Greek pro ‘before’ + piōn ‘fat’, it being the first member of the fatty acid series to form fats.
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