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The relative configuration of the title compound, C6H11NO5·2H2O, was determined by X-ray crystallography; the absolute configuration was determined by the comparison of physical data with the literature [Fleet, Bashyal & Chow (1986). Tetrahedron Lett.27, 3205–3207; Fleet, Bashyal, Chow & Fellows (1987). Tetrahedron, 43, 415–422; Bernotas & Ganem (1985). Tetrahedron Lett.26, 4981–4982]. The structure exists as an extensively hydrogen-bonded lattice, with each molecule acting as a donor and acceptor for seven hydrogen bonds.