Chemistry Question #1878

Loubelle I. Depita, a 17 year old female from Koronadal City, South Cotabato, Philippines asks on January 28, 2004,

Why does Nitric Acid stain the human skin yellow?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on January 28, 2004

Nitric acid causes nitration of organic phenyl groups naturally present in skin proteins.  Nitrated phenyl groups tend to be yellow or brown in color.

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