phenolphthalein fē´nôlthăl´ēən [key], or 2,2-Bis(p-hydroxyphenyl) phthalide, C20H14O4, crystalline organic compound. It is used medicinally as a laxative and is widely employed in the laboratory as an indicator of the acidity or basicity of solutions. In pure water it is insoluble, but it is soluble in basic solutions or in ethanol or acetone. In a solution with pH greater than 8 (pH 8 is mildly basic) phenolphthalein is pink to red in color, but at pH less than 8 it is colorless. Phenolphthalein is a phenol derivative of phthalic anhydride.
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