Applications of Palmitic acid

Posted: March 19, 2012 in Cosmetics additives
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Palmitic acid, or hexadecanoic acid in IUPAC nomenclature, is one of the most common fatty acids found in animals and plants. It is a major component of the oil from palm trees (palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil). However, palmitic acid can also be found in meats, cheeses, butter, and dairy products.
Its molecular formula is CH3(CH2)14CO2H. As its name indicates, it is a major component of the oil from palm trees (palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil). Palmitate is a term for the salts and esters of palmitic acid. The palmitate anion is the observed form of palmitic acid at basic pH.
Palmitic acid has been shown to kill the beta cells in the pancreas that are responsible for the secretion of insulin, and to suppress the body’s natural appetite-suppressing signals from leptin and insulin — the key hormones involved in weight regulation.
Applications
Palmitic acid is mainly used to produce soaps, cosmetics, and release agents. These applications utilize sodium palmitate, which is commonly obtained by saponification of palm oil. To this end, palm oil, rendered from the coconut palm nut, is treated with sodium hydroxide (in the form of caustic soda or lye), which causes hydrolysis of the ester groups. This procedure affords glycerol and sodium palmitate.
Because it is inexpensive and adds texture to processed foods (convenience food), palmitic acid and its sodium salt find wide use including foodstuffs. Sodium palmitate is permitted as a natural additive in organic products.
Hydrogenation of palmitic acid yields cetyl alcohol, which is used to produce detergents and cosmetics.
Recently, a long-acting antipsychotic medication, paliperidone palmitate (marketed as INVEGA Sustenna), used in the treatment of schizophrenia, has been synthesized using the oily palmitate ester as a long-acting release carrier medium when injected intramuscularly. The underlying method of drug delivery is similar to that used with decanoic acid to deliver long-acting depot medication, in particular, neuroleptics such as haloperidol decanoate.
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