- Lauric acid
Lauric acid Identifiers CAS number PubChem ChEMBL Properties Molecular formula C12H24O2 Molar mass 200.31776 Appearance white powder Odor slight odor of bay oil Density 0.880 g/cm3 Melting point
Solubility in water 0.006 g/100 mL (20 °C) Refractive index (nD) 1.423 Viscosity 7.30 mPa·s at 323 K Hazards NFPA 704 Flash point ≥ 110 °C Related compounds Related compounds Glyceryl laurate (what is: /?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Lauric acid, as a component of triglycerides, comprises about half of the fatty acid content in coconut oil and in palm kernel oil (not to be confused with palm oil), Otherwise it is relatively uncommon. It is also found in human breast milk (6.2% of total fat), cow's milk (2.9%), and goat's milk (3.1%).
Like many other fatty acids, lauric acid is inexpensive, has a long shelf-life, and is non-toxic and safe to handle. It is mainly used for the production of soaps and cosmetics. For these purposes, lauric acid is neutralized with sodium hydroxide to give sodium laurate, which is a soap. Most commonly, sodium laurate is obtained by saponification of various oils, such as coconut oil. These precursors give mixtures of sodium laurate and other soaps.
In the laboratory, lauric acid is often used to investigate the molar mass of an unknown substance via the freezing-point depression. Lauric acid is convenient because its melting point when pure is relatively high (43.9 °C). Its cryoscopic constant is 3.9 K/kg/mol. By melting lauric acid with the unknown substance, allowing it to cool, and recording the temperature at which the mixture freezes, the molar mass of the unknown compound may be determined.
Potential medicinal properties
Lauric acid has been found to increase total cholesterol the most of all fatty acids. But most of the increase is attributable to an increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) "good" cholesterol. As a result, lauric acid has "a more favorable effect on total:HDL cholesterol than any other fatty acid, either saturated or unsaturated"; a lower total/HDL cholesterol ratio suggests a decrease in atherosclerotic risk.
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Appendix: occurrence of lauric acid in various foods
- The palm tree Orbignya phalerata Mart, a species popularly known in Brazil as babassu
- Attalea cohune, the cohune palm (also rain tree, American oil palm, corozo palm or manaca palm)
- Astrocaryum murumuru (Arecaceae) a palm native to the Amazon
- Pycnanthus kombo (African nutmeg)
- Virola surinamensis (wild nutmeg) 7.8–11.5%
- Peach palm seed 10.4%
- Betel nut 9%
- Date palm seed 0.56–5.4%
- Macadamia nut 0.072–1.1%
- Plum 0.35–0.38%
- Watermelon seed 0.33%
- Citrullus lanatus (egusi melon)
- Pumpkin flower 205 ppm, pumpkin seed 472 ppm
- Berner, Louise A. (1993). Defining the Role of Milkfat in Balanced Diets. In John E. Kinsella (Ed.) Advances in Food and Nutrition Research – Volume 37. Academic Press. pp. 159–166. ISBN 9780120164370.
- Kabara, Jon J. (1978). The Pharmacological Effect of Lipids. Champaign IL: American Oil Chemist's Society. ISBN 9991817697.
- Kabara, Jon J. (2008). Fats Are Good for You and Other Secrets – How Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Actually Benefit the Body. North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1556436904.
Lipids: fatty acids SaturatedVFA: Acetic (C2) · Propionic (C3) · Butyric (C4) · Valeric (C5) · Caproic (C6) · Enanthic (C7) · Caprylic (C8) · Pelargonic (C9) · Capric (C10) · Undecylic (C11) · Lauric (C12) · Tridecylic (C13) · Myristic (C14) · Pentadecanoic (C15) · Palmitic (C16) · Margaric (C17) · Stearic (C18) · Nonadecylic (C19) · Arachidic (C20) · Heneicosylic (C21) · Behenic (C22) · Tricosylic (C23) · Lignoceric (C24) · Pentacosylic (C25) · Cerotic (C26) · Heptacosylic (C27) · Montanic (C28) · Nonacosylic (C29) · Melissic (C30) · Hentriacontylic (C31) · Lacceroic (C32) · Psyllic (C33) · Geddic (C34) · Ceroplastic (C35) · Hexatriacontylic (C36) n−3 Unsaturated n−6 Unsaturated n−9 Unsaturated biochemical families: prot · nucl · carb (glpr, alco, glys) · lipd (fata/i, phld, strd, gllp, eico) · amac/i · ncbs/i · ttpy/i
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