With few exceptions, the steroids are white crystalline solids. They may be in the form of needles, leaflets, platelets, or amorphous particles, depending on the particular compound, the solvent used in crystallization, and the skill and luck of the chemist. Because the steroids have 17 or more carbon atoms, it is not surprising that they tend to be water insoluble. Addition of hydroxyls or other polar groups (or decreasing carbons) increases water solubility slightly, as expected. Salts are the most water soluble. Examples are shown in Table 25.1. As a class, the 4-en-3-one steroids are light sensitive and should be kept in light-resistant containers.
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