Ricinoleic acid
Preferred IUPAC name
(9Z,12R)-12-Hydroxyoctadec-9-enoic acid
Other names
(R)-12-Hydroxy-9-cis-octadecenoic acid
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.004.974 Edit this at Wikidata
  • InChI=1S/C18H34O3/c1-2-3-4-11-14-17(19)15-12-9-7-5-6-8-10-13-16-18(20)21/h9,12,17,19H,2-8,10-11,13-16H2,1H3,(H,20,21)/b12-9-/t17-/m1/s1 checkY
  • InChI=1/C18H34O3/c1-2-3-4-11-14-17(19)15-12-9-7-5-6-8-10-13-16-18(20)21/h9,12,17,19H,2-8,10-11,13-16H2,1H3,(H,20,21)/b12-9-/t17-/m1/s1
Molar mass 298.461 g/mol
Appearance Yellow viscous liquid
Density 0.945 g/cm3
Melting point 5 °C (41 °F; 278 K)
Boiling point 245 °C (473 °F; 518 K)
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
NFPA 704 four-colored diamondHealth 0: Exposure under fire conditions would offer no hazard beyond that of ordinary combustible material. E.g. sodium chlorideFlammability 1: Must be pre-heated before ignition can occur. Flash point over 93 °C (200 °F). E.g. canola oilInstability 0: Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water. E.g. liquid nitrogenSpecial hazards (white): no code
Flash point 228 °C (442 °F; 501 K)
Safety data sheet (SDS) Fisher Scientific
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Ricinoleic acid, formally called 12-hydroxy-9-cis-octadecenoic acid, is a fatty acid. It is an unsaturated omega-9 fatty acid[1] and a hydroxy acid. It is a major component of the seed oil obtained from the seeds of castor plant (Ricinus communis L., Euphorbiaceae), the plant that produces ricin. It is also found in the sclerotium of ergot (Claviceps purpurea Tul., Clavicipitaceae). About 90% of the fatty acid content in castor oil is the ricinolein.


Ricinoleic acid is manufactured for industries by saponification or fractional distillation of hydrolyzed castor oil.[2]

The first attempts to prepare ricinoleic acid were made by Friedrich Krafft in 1888.[3]


Sebacic acid ((CH2)8(CO2H)2), which is used in preparing certain nylons, is produced by cleavage of ricinoleic acid. The coproduct is 2-octanol.[4][5] The mechanism of the base-induced cleavage is proposed to proceed by initial dehydrogenation of the secondary alcohol, affording the ketone. The resulting α,β-unsaturated ketone undergoes retroaldol reaction, resulting in lysis of the C-C bond.[6]

The zinc salt is used in personal care products such as deodorants.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Frank D. Gunstone; John L. Harwood; Albert J. Dijkstra (2007). The Lipid Handbook. CRC Press. p. 1472. ISBN 978-1420009675.
  2. ^ James AT, Hadaway HC, Webb JP (May 1965). "The biosynthesis of ricinoleic acid". Biochem. J. 95 (2): 448–52. doi:10.1042/bj0950448. PMC 1214342. PMID 14340094.
  3. ^ Rider, T. H. (November 1931). "The Purification of Sodium Ricinoleate". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 53 (11): 4130–4133. doi:10.1021/ja01362a031.
  4. ^ Cornils, Boy; Lappe, Peter (2000). "Dicarboxylic Acids, Aliphatic". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a08_523. ISBN 3527306730.
  5. ^ Roger Adams, C. S. Marvel (1921). "Methyl-n-hexylcarbinol". Organic Syntheses. 1: 61. doi:10.15227/orgsyn.001.0061.
  6. ^ Diamond, M. J.; Binder, R. G.; Applewhite, T. H. (1965). "Alkaline cleavage of hydroxy unsaturated fatty acids. I. Ricinoleic acid and lesquerolic acid". Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society. 42 (10): 882–884. doi:10.1007/BF02541184. S2CID 85036911.
  7. ^ Tom's of Maine - About Our Products