From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia


1-Tetradecanol, also known as myristyl alcohol, is a fatty alcohol with the chemical formula C14H30O. It is a white, waxy solid at room temperature and is sparingly soluble in water but soluble in most organic solvents. 1-Tetradecanol is commonly used in the manufacture of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and in various industrial applications due to its surfactant properties.

Properties[edit | edit source]

1-Tetradecanol has a molecular weight of 214.39 g/mol and a melting point of about 38°C. Its boiling point is approximately 250°C at 100 mmHg. This fatty alcohol exhibits both hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties, making it an effective surfactant. It is stable under normal temperatures and pressures but can react vigorously with strong oxidizing agents.

Production[edit | edit source]

1-Tetradecanol can be produced through the hydrogenation of myristic acid, which is derived from natural sources such as coconut oil and palm kernel oil. Another method of production is through the Ziegler process, which involves the ethylene polymerization using a triethylaluminium and titanium tetrachloride catalyst.

Applications[edit | edit source]

Cosmetics and Personal Care[edit | edit source]

In the cosmetics industry, 1-Tetradecanol is used as an emulsifier and emollient in creams, lotions, and shampoos. Its surfactant properties help to stabilize mixtures of oil and water, improving the texture and application of cosmetic products.

Pharmaceuticals[edit | edit source]

In pharmaceutical formulations, 1-Tetradecanol acts as a thickening agent and is used in the preparation of creams and ointments. Its emollient properties also make it beneficial for topical medications, aiding in the delivery of active ingredients through the skin.

Industrial Uses[edit | edit source]

Industrially, 1-Tetradecanol is utilized in the production of lubricants, plasticizers, and detergents. Its ability to reduce surface tension makes it valuable in the manufacture of textiles and in the oil and gas industry as a component of drilling fluids.

Safety and Regulatory Aspects[edit | edit source]

1-Tetradecanol is generally considered safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products. However, like many chemicals, it should be handled with care, and exposure to large amounts can cause irritation to the skin and eyes. Regulatory bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitor its use in various products to ensure safety for consumers and the environment.

Environmental Impact[edit | edit source]

The environmental impact of 1-Tetradecanol depends on its source and method of production. When derived from renewable resources like coconut or palm kernel oil, it is considered more sustainable. However, the cultivation of these crops can lead to deforestation and loss of biodiversity if not managed responsibly. The biodegradability of 1-Tetradecanol allows it to break down in the environment, reducing the risk of long-term pollution.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD