noun, plural: valeric acids
A five-carbon fatty acid, with the formula: C5H10O2
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 valeric acid is a fatty acid (a saturated type). It has five carbon atoms in the chain. Its name is derived from the valerian plant, a perennial flowering plant from the genus Valeriana of the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae). The valeric acid can be obtained from the roots of valerian.
The valeric acid is an oily liquid with a strong acid taste and an unpleasant odour (similar to an old cheese). However, the volatile esters of valeric acid have a rather pleasant odor and therefore are used as an ingredient in perfumes and cosmetics. It is also used as flavourings (e.g. ethyl valerate and pentyl valerate) and as component of certain pharmaceutical drugs. Valerin, a salt of valeric acid with glycerin, occurs in butter and dolphin oil. It forms an oily liquid with a slightly unpleasant odour.
Word origin: Greek boúturos (“butter”)
- Pentanoic acid