The solution and solid state structure of L-carnitine L-tartrate

Hubert Schmidbaur, Annette Schier, Angela Bayler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


L-Carnitine forms a salt-like 2:1 adduct with L-tartaric acid which crystallizes in the orthorhombic space group P212121 with Z = 4 formula units in the unit cell. The lattice is composed of an L-tartrate dianion and two crystallographically independent L-carnitinium cations. The two cations show only very minor differences in their conformation. Anions and cations are arranged in separate stacks which are linked via hydrogen bonds. The tartrate anion and the carnitinium cations show standard geometries known from the structures of other salts of these ions, like the L-carnitine component of the R,L-carnitinium chloride or the dianion in alkali tartrates. The title compound has galenic advantages as an L-carnitine drug because of its non-hygroscopic properties. Aqueous solutions have been shown to contain solvated ionic components, i.e. L-tartrate and L-hydrogentartrate anions, L-tartaric acid (15:70:15) and carnitinium cations. The title compound can therefore be classified as a genuine L-carnitinium salt of L-tartaric acid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-791
Number of pages4
JournalZeitschrift fur Naturforschung - Section B Journal of Chemical Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Carnitine
  • Hydrogen Bonds
  • Tartrate


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