wood vinegar and wood acid
|Appearance||Yellow to red liquid|
|Boiling point||99 °C (210 °F; 372 K)|
Refractive index (nD)
|Flash point||44 °C (111 °F; 317 K)|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
The principal components of pyroligneous acid are acetic acid, acetone and methanol. It was once used as a commercial source for acetic acid. In addition, the vinegar often contains 80-90% water along with some 200 organic compounds.
Pyroligneous acid (acetum lignorum) was investigated by German chemist Johann Rudolph Glauber. The acid was eaten as a substitute for vinegar. It was also used topically for treating wounds, ulcers and other ailments. A salt can be made by neutralizing the acid with a lye made from the ashes of the burnt wood.
During the United States Civil War it became increasingly difficult for the Confederate States of America to obtain much needed salt. Curing meat and fish with pyroligneous acid was attempted by cooks to compensate for this deficiency. Unfortunately for the Confederate States Army it was not a comparable method of food preservation.
In the nineteenth century, pyroligneous acid was used to prepare an impure aluminium sulfacetate mordant for use with cotton, but the resulting mixture imparted a burnt odor to the cotton, and Ganswindt recommended its use be abandoned in favour of purer preparations in 1899.
In 1895, pyroligneous acid was first marketed under the brand Wright's Liquid Smoke, a liquid smoke product intended to impart the flavor and some of the preservative effects of wood smoking to meats and vegetables. In the early 21st century, concerns about the carcinogenic effects of components of wood smoke led to an increased use of liquid smoke.
- Pyroligneous acid from Sigma-Aldrich
- George A. Burdock (2010), "PYROLIGNEOUS ACID", Fenaroli's Handbook of Flavor Ingredients (6th ed.), Taylor & Francis, pp. 1774–1775, ISBN 978-1-4200-9077-2
- Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
- Fielding H. Garrison (1921), History of Medicine (3rd ed.), W. B. Saunders, p. 286
- Johann Rudolph Glauber (1651), Furni Novi Philosophici, 1, Johann Jansson, pp. 47–49
- Mark Kurlansky (2002). Salt: A World History. Penguin Books. pp. 267–68. ISBN 0-14-200161-9.
- Ganswindt, Albert (1889). Handbuch der Färberei und der damit verwandten vorbereitenden und vollendenden Gewerbe (in German). p. 270.
- Unusual Stories of Unusual Men: Ernest H. Wright - Classification: "Condensed Smoke". The Rotarian. 1923. pp. 209–10, 240.
- Bruce Kraig (31 January 2013). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. OUP USA. pp. 2–. ISBN 978-0-19-973496-2.