Methyl Butyrate – a Clear Colorless Liquid

Methyl butyrate, also known as methyl butanoate in the scientific community, is the methyl ester of butyric acid. It has the appearance of a clear, colorless liquid. It has a fruity odor, similar to apples or pineapples, as do most esters. At room temperature, it is a colorless liquid with low solubility in water, forming an oily layer as it floats. The lash point is 57°F. Although it is flammable, it has a low vapor pressure (40 mmHg at 30 °C (86 °F)), allowing it to be handled safely at room temperature without special precautions. It has a lower density than water and is only slightly soluble in water. As a result, it floats on water. Its vapors are denser than air.

Methyl butyrate, also known as methyl butanoate in the scientific community, is the methyl ester of butyric acid. It has a fruity odor, similar to apples or pineapples, as do most esters. At room temperature, it is a colorless liquid with low solubility in water, forming an oily layer as it floats.

Properties

Methyl butyrate occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables such as apples, apricots, blackberries, and nectarine. It is used as a flavoring ingredient in beverages, ice cream, candy, and baked goods with fruit and rum flavoring. Butyraldehyde is also synthesized using methyl butyrate.

  • Melting point: -85 to 84°C
  • Boiling point: 102-103°C (lit.)
  • Density: 0.898 g/mL at 25 °C (lit.)
  • vapor density: 3.5 (vs air)
  • vapor pressure: 40 mm Hg ( 30 °C)
  • Flash point: 53 °F
  • Form: Liquid
  • Color: Clear colorless to very slightly yellow

Flavor details

Methyl butyrate can be found in trace amounts in a variety of plant products, particularly pineapple oil. It can be produced by distillation from vegetable essential oils, but it is also produced on a small scale for use in perfumes and as a food flavoring.

Immobilized lipases are used in the synthesis of fatty acid esters. Short-chain fatty acids and alcohols such as methyl butyrate, butyl butyrate, isobutyl isobutyrate, and isoamyl isovalerate that are similar to pineapple or apple flavor, ethyl butyrate that is similar to pineapple or strawberry flavor, and isoamyl acetate/butyrate that is similar to banana flavor are flavor compounds.

Application

Methyl butyrate is a solvent used in the production of ethylcellulose and nitrocellulose resins. It is also used in the production of rum and fruit flavors, as well as lacquers and perfumes.

In combustion studies, methyl butyrate has been used as a surrogate fuel for the larger fatty acid methyl esters found in biodiesel. However, due to its short chain length, methyl butyrate does not reproduce well the negative temperature coefficient (NTC) behavior and early CO2 formation characteristics of real biodiesel fuels, according to studies. As a result, methyl butyrate is ineffective as a surrogate fuel in biodiesel combustion studies.