Dictionary > Myristic acid

Myristic acid

noun, plural: myristic acids
A fourteen-carbon fatty acid, with the formula: C14H28O2
A fatty acid is a long chain of hydrocarbon. If there are no unsaturated linkages but only single bonds between carbon atoms them the fatty acid is a saturated type. This is in contrast to an unsaturated fatty acid that contains at least one double carbon-carbon bond.
The myristic acid is a saturated fatty acid. It has fourteen carbon molecules in a chain connected by single bonds. It is a medium chain fatty acid. Myristates are salts and esters of myristic acid. This fatty acid derived its name from the nutmeg plant species, Myristica fragrans, where it was first obtained from. Lyon Playfair, a Scottish scientist, was the first to isolate the myristic acid from the nutmeg plant in 1841.1 The myristic acid occurs naturally in palm kernel oil and coconut oil apart from the nutmeg. It is also found in spermaceti. It is extracted for use in the manufacture of soap and cosmetics.
IUPAC name:

  • 1-tetradecanoic acid

Chemical formula:
See also:


1 Playfair, L. (2009). “XX. On a new fat acid in the butter of nutmegs”. Philosophical Magazine. Series 3. 18 (115): 102–113.

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