Myristic acid

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Myristic acid[1]
Myristic acid.png
IUPAC name tetradecanoic acid
CAS number 544-63-8
PubChem 11005
Molecular formula C14H28O2
Molar mass 228.37092
Density 0.8622 g/cm3
Melting point

58.8 °C

Boiling point

250.5 °C at 100 mmHg

Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

Myristic acid, also called tetradecanoic acid, is a common saturated fatty acid with the molecular formula CH3(CH2)12COOH. A myristate is a salt or ester of myristic acid.

Myristic acid is named after the nutmeg (Myristica fragrans). Nutmeg butter is 75% trimyristin, the triglyceride of myristic acid. Besides nutmeg, myristic acid is also found in palm oil, butter fat and spermacetin, the crystallized fraction of oil from the sperm whale.

Myristic acid is also commonly added co-translationally to the penultimate, nitrogen terminus, glycine in receptor-associated kinases to confer the membrane localisation of the enzyme. The myristic acid has a sufficiently high hydrophobicity to become incorporated into the fatty acyl core of the phospholipid bilayer of the plasma membrane of the eukaryotic cell. In this way, myristic acid acts as a lipid anchor in biomembranes.

The ester isopropyl myristate is used in cosmetic and topical medicinal preparations where good absorption through the skin is desired.

Myristic acid was discovered by harry diehl under NIH. He was hired to find something to help athritis while there are now much more uses for it. He patented it in 1977.

Reduction of myristic acid yields myristyl alcohol.


  1. Merck Index, 11th Edition, 6246
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