From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia


1-Pentadecanol is an organic compound with the chemical formula C15H32O. It belongs to the group of fatty alcohols, which are a type of alcohol derived from fats and oils. Fatty alcohols like 1-pentadecanol are predominantly used in the production of detergents, emulsifiers, and surfactants. These compounds play a crucial role in the formulation of various cosmetic products, pharmaceuticals, and industrial chemicals.

Properties[edit | edit source]

1-Pentadecanol is a solid at room temperature, characterized by its waxy texture. It is insoluble in water but highly soluble in organic solvents such as ethanol and diethyl ether. The compound exhibits a high boiling point and melting point due to the long carbon chain in its molecular structure, which is typical for fatty alcohols.

Synthesis[edit | edit source]

The synthesis of 1-pentadecanol can be achieved through the hydrogenation of pentadecanoic acid or its esters. This process involves the reduction of the carboxylic acid group (-COOH) to an alcohol group (-OH), using a catalyst such as nickel or palladium and hydrogen gas. Another method for synthesizing 1-pentadecanol is through the Fischer-Tropsch process, which converts carbon monoxide and hydrogen into various hydrocarbons and alcohols under high pressure and temperature in the presence of a catalyst.

Applications[edit | edit source]

1-Pentadecanol is utilized in a wide range of applications due to its surfactant and emulsifying properties. In the cosmetic industry, it is used as an ingredient in creams, lotions, and shampoos to improve texture and moisture retention. In the pharmaceutical industry, it serves as a base for ointments and as an excipient in drug formulations. Additionally, 1-pentadecanol is employed in the production of industrial chemicals, where it acts as a precursor to other chemical compounds and as a stabilizer in various formulations.

Safety and Environmental Impact[edit | edit source]

As with many chemical compounds, the handling of 1-pentadecanol requires caution. It should be stored in a cool, dry place and kept away from sources of ignition. While 1-pentadecanol is generally considered to have low toxicity, prolonged or excessive exposure can lead to skin and eye irritation. Environmental considerations also play a role in its usage, as the release of fatty alcohols into water bodies can affect aquatic life. Therefore, proper disposal and treatment of wastes containing 1-pentadecanol are essential to minimize its environmental impact.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD