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also known as β-aminoethanesulfonic acid, H2NCH2CH2SO3H, a natural amino sulfonic acid.
Taurine is readily soluble in water but poorly soluble in organic solvents. Its melting point is 328°–329°C (with decomposition). Taurine is present in large quantities in the muscles of some mollusks and worms. In vertebrates, including man, it is found in the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, muscles, liver, kidneys, blood, and milk. Amides consisting of taurine and bile acids—for example, taurocholic acid—are constituents of mammalian bile that assist in the emulsification and absorption of fats. Taurine is synthesized in the organism by enzymic oxidation of the sulfhydryl group (—SH) and by decarboxylation of the amino acid cysteine. Taurine is excreted with urine, both in the free state and in the form of derivatives with guanidine or carbamic acid. Upon entering the intestine, taurine is broken down to inorganic sulfides by the microflora.