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Hydroquinone, or quinol, is a phenolic compound, consisting of benzene with hydrogen atoms 1 and 4 replaced by hydroxyl groups, -OH. It could be called by a number of systematic names, including 1,4-benzenediol, benzene-1,4-diol, p-benzenediol, 1,4-dihydroxybenzene, p-dihydroxybenzene, 4-hydroxyphenol, and p-hydroxyphenol. This tells you something about the delights of organic nomenclature.

It looks like this:

         /   \
    H - C     C - O - H
        |  O  |
H - O - C     C - H
         \   /
According to Chambers Science and Technology Dictionary it is a strong reducing agent and is used extensively as a developer in photography.

Other assorted data: it can brown apples and is one of the chemicals used by the bombardier beetle in its defence system. rp informs me that it is also used as a whitener in body milk.

Hy`dro*qui"none (?), n. [Hydro-, 2 + quinone.] Chem.

A white crystalline substance, C6H4(OH)2, obtained by the reduction of quinone. It is a diacid phenol, resembling, and metameric with, pyrocatechin and resorcin. Called also dihydroxy benzene.


© Webster 1913.

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