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The oxygen balance of an organic molecule is defined as:

[-1600 * (2X + Y/2 - Z)]/M,


• X = the number of carbon atoms in a molecule

• Y = the number of hydrogen atoms in a molecule

• Z = the number of oxygen atoms in a molecule and

• M = its molecular weight

An oxygen balance of zero would then denote a compound with a high propensity for explosive decomposition. High positive or negative values denote a low explosivity.

Methyl lactate has an oxygen balance of -138.3, which denotes a low explosive risk.

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