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Amphoteric vs. Ampholyte

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1 Amphoteric vs. Ampholyte on Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:46 pm

Amphoteric vs. Ampholyte
During a quick discussion earlier today re: the above, it appeared that some were as confused w/ the difference between the two as I was seeing as the notes were quite vague. So, I found the attached definitions and figured I'd post on here in hopes it could clear it up for others:

The term amphoteric is used to describe a class of compounds that have two or more different groups, often times an amino and a carboxyl. Depending upon the pH, amphoteric compounds can have a positive charge, a negative charge or no charge at all. Therefore, amphoteric compounds can be anionic (-), cationic (+) or zwitterionic (- and +)

Ampholytes have a fully quaternized nitrogen and consequently cannot lose their positive charge. As a result, they exist as either zwitterionic (- and +) or cationic (+) compounds, depending upon the pH of the formulation. They cannot exist in an anionic (-) state, since the positive charge on the nitrogen is always present


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