litmus

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litmus,

organic dye usually used in the laboratory as an indicator of acidity or alkalinity (see acids and basesacids and bases,
two related classes of chemicals; the members of each class have a number of common properties when dissolved in a solvent, usually water. Properties
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). Naturally pink in color, it turns blue in alkali solutions and red in acids. Commonly, paper is treated with the coloring matter to form so-called litmus paper. Litmus is extracted, chiefly in the Netherlands, from certain lichens (see archilarchil
or orchil
, blue, red, or purple dye extracted from several species of lichen, also called orchella weeds, found in various parts of the world. Commercial archil is either a powder (called cudbear), a pasty mass (called archil), or a drier paste (called persis).
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), which are mashed, treated with potassium carbonate and ammonia, and allowed to ferment. The resulting product is mixed with various colorless substances, such as chalk or gypsum, and is sold in dark blue lumps, masses, or tablets. The active component of litmus, i.e., the part sensitive to acids or bases, is called erythrolitmin.

Litmus

 

a dye extracted from certain species of lichen (for example, Roccella tinctoria).

The composition of litmus is complex and has not yet been fully established. The pigment component is the weak acid azolitmin, which yields blue salts. Litmus is used as an indicator: it turns red in an acid medium and blue in an alkaline medium. Test papers impregnated with the dye are generally the form used.

litmus

[′lit·məs]
(materials)
Blue, water-soluble powder from various lichens, especially Variolaria lecanora and V. rocella ; turns red in solutions at pH 4.5, and blue at pH 8.3; used as an acid-base indicator. Also known as lacmus; lichen blue.

litmus

An organic chemical indicator of acidity or alkalinity; is red in color for pH values below 4.5 and blue above 8.3.

litmus

a soluble powder obtained from certain lichens. It turns red under acid conditions and blue under basic conditions and is used as an indicator
References in periodicals archive ?
Archbishop Chaput also rejected DeGette's accusation about a litmus test, "since your own party enforces a pro-choice litmus test on its potential candidates far more roughly and with far less moral legitimacy.
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I believe [the senators] established a litmus test based on a difference of religious perspectives," Wilson said.
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I don't think we'll ever find a litmus test for identifying victims of sexual abuse," contends coinvestigator John Briere of the University of Southern California School of Medicine in Los An les.