Q:

What is pentanoic acid?

A:

Quick Answer

Valeric acid, also called pentanoic acid, is a straight-chain alkyl carboxylic acid. Valeric acid can be found naturally in valerian, which is a perennial flowering plant.

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Full Answer

Similar to other low-molecular-weight carboxylic acids, valeric acid emits an unpleasant odor. Primarily, the function of valeric acid is in the synthesis of its esters. Typically, volatile esters of valeric acid have pleasant odors and are used in both perfumes and cosmetics. Valeric acid has been known to cause irritation should it come into contact with skin, eyes or mucous membranes.

Valeric acid, when applied directly, is said to be effective for treating acne, but no trials have been conducted to test these claims.

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