Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • William M. IrvineEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1828-4


Organic Compound Human Body Standard Condition Bioorganic Chemistry Metabolic Process 
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The organic compound acetone (CH3COCH3) is the simplest example of a ketone. Under standard conditions, it is a colorless, flammable liquid. Acetone is naturally produced by normal metabolic processes in the human body. Since it is miscible with water, it serves as an important laboratory solvent. Rotational transitions in both the ground vibrational state and in the first excited torsional state have been detected by radio astronomers in molecular clouds.


Although detection of acetone in a molecular cloud toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy was reported by radio astronomers in 1987, secure confirmation of its presence in interstellar clouds was not achieved until some 15 years later.

See Also

References and Further Reading

  1. Friedel DN, Snyder LE, Remijan AJ, Turner BE (2005) Detection of acetone toward the orion-KL hot core. Astrophys J 632:L95–L98CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AstronomyLederle Graduate Research Tower B 619E, University of MassachusettsAmherstUSA