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Malic acid is an intermediate in the citric acid cycle. It is formed from fumaric acid and is oxidized to oxaloacetic acid. It is also metabolized to pyruvic acid by malic enzyme which is present in many biologic systems, including bacteria and plants. L-Malic and dl-malic acid are both rapidly metabolized in the rat. Orally or ip administered l- or dl-malic acid was extensively eliminated as carbon dioxide (83 to 92%). No differences between the two forms were found in the rates (90 to 95% in 24 hr) or routes of excretion.

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Not considered to be toxic to reproduction or cause developmental toxicity
Malic acid and fumaric acid accur naturally in many foods and synthetic forms of these acids are considered suitable as food additives.

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