l-Tartaric acid is derived by extraction from argol, a sediment on wine vats. Racemic or dl-tartaric acid is produced by chemical synthesis from maleic anhydride. This acid is used as acidulant in food and pharmaceutical applications and is considered one of the best acidulants with superior flavour to citric acid. Tartaric acid is well-established as a retardant in slow-setting cement formulations.
The production process of l and dl-tartaric acid are reviewed, producers listed and the worldwide output, as well as current prices are given. The projected output and outlook by 2020 is determined.