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  • Hexanoic acid (common name caproic acid), is the carboxylic acid derived from hexane with the general formula C5H11COOH.
  • Caproic acid is a colorless oily liquid with an odor reminiscent of goats or other barnyard animals.
  • Caproic acid is a fatty acid found naturally in various animal fats and oils, and is one of the chemicals that gives the decomposing fleshy seed coat of the ginkgo its characteristic unpleasant odor. The salts and esters of this acid are known as hexanoates or caproates.
  • Fatty acids are a carboxylic acid with a long unbranched aliphatic tail , which is either saturated or unsaturated.
    Saturated fatty acids do not contain any double bonds or other functional groups along the chain. The term "saturated" refers to hydrogen, in that all carbons contain as many hydrogens as possible.
  • Saturated fatty acids form straight chains and, as a result, can be packed together very tightly, allowing living organisms to store chemical energy very densely. The fatty tissues of animals contain large amounts of long-chain saturated fatty acids.
  • The human body can produce all but two of the fatty acids it needs. These two, linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (LNA), are widely distributed in plant oils.
  • In addition, fish oils contain the longer-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
  • Caproic acid, a six-carbon straight-chain fatty acid, is found in trace amounts in natural fats and is thus produced only as a minor by-product of triglyceride hydrolysis.
  • One proposed source for caproic acid involves , an intentional interruption of the anaerobic digestion of biomass such that aliphatic acid intermediates, rather than methane and carbon dioxide, are the end-products of digestion.
  • Caproic acid is of moderate to slight toxicity to fish and invertebrates.
  • Caproic acid serves as a raw material in the manufacture of fragrances and essences in the food industry and in the synthesis of perfumes. It is a constituent of medicines and also used in the synthesis of hexylphenols and hexylresorcinol.
  • Caproic acid occurs as a free acid or salt, as well as in the form of an ester.

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