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Either of two organic compounds. Alpha-alanine is one of the nonessential amino acids, found in most proteins and particularly abundant in fibroin, the protein in silk. It is used in research and as a dietary supplement. Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid not found in proteins. It is an important constituent of the vitamin pantothenic acid and is used in its synthesis, as well as in biochemical research, electroplating, and organic synthesis.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on alanine, visit Britannica.com.