Isoamyl alcohol

Isoamyl alcohol[1]
Preferred IUPAC name
Other names
Isopentyl alcohol
123-51-3 YesY
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image
ChEBI CHEBI:15837 YesY
ChEMBL ChEMBL372396 YesY
ChemSpider 29000 YesY
DrugBank DB02296 YesY
ECHA InfoCard 100.004.213
KEGG C07328 YesY
PubChem 31260
Molar mass 88.148 g/mol
Appearance Clear, colorless liquid
Odor disagreeable[2]
Density 0.8104 g/cm3 at 20 °C
Melting point −117[3][2] °C (−179 °F; 156 K)
Boiling point 131.1 °C (268.0 °F; 404.2 K)
slightly soluble, 28 g/L
Solubility very soluble in acetone, diethyl ether, ethanol
Vapor pressure 28 mmHg (20°C)[2]
Viscosity 3.692 mPa·s
2.382 J·g−1·K−1
-356.4 kJ·mol−1 (liquid)
-300.7 kJ·mol−1 (gas)
Flash point 43 °C (109 °F; 316 K)
350 °C (662 °F; 623 K)
Explosive limits 1.2 – 9%
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
3438 mg/kg (rabbit, oral)
1300 mg/kg (rat, oral)[4]
US health exposure limits (NIOSH):
PEL (Permissible)
TWA 100 ppm (360 mg/m3)[2]
REL (Recommended)
TWA 100 ppm (360 mg/m3) ST 125 ppm (450 mg/m3)[2]
IDLH (Immediate danger)
500 ppm[2]
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Isoamyl alcohol (also known as isopentyl alcohol) is a clear, colorless alcohol with the formula (CH3)2CHCH2CH2OH. It is one of several isomers of amyl alcohol. It is a main ingredient in the production of banana oil, an ester found in nature and also produced as a flavouring in industry. It is also the main ingredient of Kovac's reagent, used for the bacterial diagnostic indole test.

It is also used as an antifoaming agent in the Chloroform:Isomyl Alcohol reagent.[5]

Isoamyl alcohol is used in a phenol–chloroform extraction mixed with the chloroform to further inhibit RNase activity and prevent solubility of RNAs with long tracts of poly-adenine.[6]

It is one of the components of the aroma of Tuber melanosporum, the black truffle. It has been identified as a chemical in the pheromone used by hornets to attract other members of the hive to attack.


  1. Lide, David R., ed. (1998). Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (87 ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. pp. 3–374, 5–42, 6–188, 8–102, 15–22. ISBN 0-8493-0487-3.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards #0348". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  3. Straka, M.; van Genderen, A.; Růžička, K.; Růžička, V. Heat Capacities in the Solid and in the Liquid Phase of Isomeric Pentanols. J. Chem. Eng. Data 2007, 52, 794-802.
  4. "Isoamyl alcohol". Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  5. Zumbo, P. "Phenol-chloroform Extraction" (PDF). WEILL CORNELL MEDICAL COLLEGE P. ZUMBO LABORATORY OF CHRISTOPHER E. MASON, PH.D. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  6. Green, Michael; Sambrook, Joseph. "Purification of Nucleic Acids: Extraction with Phenol-Chloroform". Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. ISBN 1936113422.
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