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In chemistry and physical sciences, a substance is described as amphiprotic if it can both donate or accept a proton, thus acting either like an acid or a base (according to Brønsted-Lowry theory of acids and bases: acids are proton donors and bases are proton acceptors. In Lewis theory of acids and bases; acids are electron pair acceptors and bases are electron pair donors). Water, amino acids, hydrogen carbonate ions and hydrogen sulfate ions are common examples of amphiprotic species. Since they can donate an electron, all amphiprotic substances contain a hydrogen atom. Also, since they can act like an acid or a base, they are amphoteric. Amphoteric substances, however, are not necessarily amphiprotic.


A common example is the hydrogen carbonate ion, which can act as a base:

HCO3- + H2O → H2CO3 + OH-

Or as an acid:

HCO3- + H2O → CO32- + H3O+

Thus, it can effectively accept or donate a proton. Water is the most common example of an amphiprotic substance:

Basic: H2O + HCl → H3O+ + Cl-

Acidic: H2O + NH3 → NH4+ + OH-

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Amphiprotic". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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