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Ricinoleic acid (Molecule of the Month for January 2013)

Ricinoleic acid is an unsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that naturally occurs in mature Castor plant (Ricinus communis L., Euphorbiaceae) seeds or in sclerotium of ergot (Claviceps purpurea Tul., Clavicipitaceae). About 90% of the fatty acid content in castor oil is the triglyceride formed from ricinoleic acid.

Ricinoleic acid is manufactured for industries by saponification or fractional distillation of hydrolyzed castor oil.

Ricinoleic acid exerts analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. The zinc salt is used in personal care products, such as deodorants.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
(9Z,12R)-12-Hydroxyoctadec-9-enoic acid

Picture of Ricinoleic acid

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Ricinoleic acid structure
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Picture of Ricinoleic acid


Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for January 2013 )