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(organic chemistry)
C10H12O4 Colorless crystals that melt at 218°C; slightly soluble in acetone, chloroform, alcohol, and water; used in veterinary medicine. Also known as cantharides camphor.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the active principle of Spanish flies and other bugs of the family Meloidae (blister beetles); a terpenoid anhydride of cantharidic acid. Cantharidin is poorly soluble in water and readily soluble in fats and organic solvents. It severely blisters the skin and mucous membranes. It causes pain, a burning sensation, and formation of blisters. Ingestion causes poisoning, accompanied by catarrh of the urinary tract, salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and excitation of the central nervous system.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.