It crystallizes in colourless prisms and is optically active.
Lehmann it melts at 168° (or at a slightly lower temperature in its water of crystallization) and on cooling forms optically isotropic crystals; at 125.6° the mass becomes doubly refracting, and from a solution rhombohedral (optically uniaxial) crystals are deposited; by further cooling acicular rhombic crystals are produced at 82.8°, and at 32.4° other rhombic forms are obtained, identical with the product obtained by crystallizing at ordinary temperatures.
Since the molecule contains an asymmetric carbon atom, the acid exists in three forms, one being an inactive "racemic" mixture, and the other two being optically active forms. The inactive variety is known as paramandelic acid.
The osazone prepared from a-acrose resembled most closely the glucosazone yielded by glucose, mannose, and fructose, but it was optically inactive; also the ketose which it gave after treatment with hydrochloric acid and reduction of the osone was like ordinary fructose except that it was inactive.
7 and 8 can be at once ruled out, however, as acids so constituted would be optically inactive and the saccharic acids are active.