By means of a modification of the technique of the Osterhout apparatus it is possible to follow the production of CO2 from sodium lactate when acted upon by H2O2.
The results of this process indicate that the reaction is not a simple one but is of an autocatalytic type. This conclusion is borne out by the fact that the determinations of H2O2 during the reaction show an increased amount of peroxide during the earlier stages of the reaction. This is considered to be due to the formation of a peroxide by the oxidation of the acetaldehyde (formed by the interaction of H2O2 and sodium lactate) with the oxygen of the air. When the reaction is carried out in an atmosphere of nitrogen no increase is observed.
Further experiments in nitrogen tend to show that acetaldehyde is the end-product of the action of H2O2 alone.
The effect of FeCl3 upon the reaction depends upon the previous treatment of the iron salt. If the iron solution is added to the H2O2 before mixing with the lactate there is an increased amount of CO2. If, however, the iron is added to the lactate before the addition of the peroxide, the action tends to inhibit the production of CO2.
The reaction of H2O2 with sodium lactate is comparable to the action of killed yeast and methylene blue as determined by Palladin and his coworkers.