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Amino acids occur in two chiral forms (they are not superposable on their mirror images).Amino acids are optically active, which means that a plane of polarized light will be rotated while passing through the substance.At a widely publicized news conference in August of 1972, Dr.Jeffrey Bada of Scripps Institute of Oceanography announced the "discovery" of a new dating method based on the rate of racemization of amino acids in fossil material.
The change from a pure enantiomer to a racemate can change its density, melting point, solubility, heat of fusion, refractive index, and its various spectra.
The production and analysis of enantiomers in the pharmaceutical industry is studied in the field of chiral organic synthesis.
Racemization can be achieved by simply mixing equal quantities of two pure enantiomers.
The two forms, which are non-superimposable when rotated in 3-dimensional space, are said to be enantiomers.
The notation is not to be confused with -glyceraldehyde.