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(or β-hydroxybutyric acid), CH3CH(OH)CH2COOH, an acid that exists in two optically active forms and one racemic form (melting point, 44°C). Hydroxybutyric acid is readily soluble in water, alcohol, and ether. In humans and animals, it is one of several intermediate products of oxidation of fatty acids. Negligible quantities of hydroxybutyric acid are present in the blood and urine of healthy humans. Certain metabolic disorders, such as diabetes mellitus and starvation, disrupt the normal oxidation of hydroxybutyric acid, which causes the accumulation of the acid in the body and may induce acidosis.