Levulinic acid

[lev-yuh-lin-ik, lev-]

Levulinic acid, or 4-oxopentanoic acid, is a white crystalline keto acid prepared from levulose, inulin, starch, etc., by boiling them with dilute hydrochloric or sulfuric acids. It is soluble in water, ethanol, and diethyl ether, but essentially insoluble in aliphatic hydrocarbons.

Levulinic acid is used in the manufacture of nylons, synthetic rubbers, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. It is a precursor in the industrial production of other chemical commodities such as methyltetrahydrofuran, valerolactone, and ethyl levulinate. As well, Levulinic acid is used in cigarettes to increase nicotine delivery in smoke and binding of nicotine to neural receptors.


  • Merck Index, 11th Edition, 5352.

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