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What is racemic mixture?

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Quick Answer

A racemic mixture is a mixture with equal amounts of two different stereoisomers of a chemical compound. These stereoisomers are mirror images of one another that cannot be superimposed onto one another. These types of stereoisomers are also called enantiomers.

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One of the isomers, the L-isomer, has a left-handed configuration around the central carbon atom while the other, the R-isomer, has a right-handed configuration around the central carbon atom. A molecule or object which is not identical to its mirror image molecule or object is chiral. Only chiral molecules can form racemic mixtures. A common treatment for croup in young children is a racemic mixture of epinephrine in nebulized form.

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