Erucic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid marked as 22:1ω9, is found in the oil-rich seeds of the Brassicaceae family of plants notably rapeseed and mustard. It has formula CH3(CH2)7CH=CH(CH2)11COOH. The name is derived from Latin word eruca which means arucola or garden rocket. It is common in wallflower seed with a content of 20 to 54% in high erucic acid rapeseed oil, and 42% in mustard oil. This acid is also known as cis-13-docosenoic acid and trans isomer is called brassidic acid. Though natural forms of mustard and rapeseed contain high erucic acid levels (over 40% of total fatty acids) and levels in rapeseed for food use are below 0.5%.
Erucic acid has similar uses as mineral oils but with a benefit that it is more bio-degradable. It is highly tolerable to temperature which makes it suitable for oil transmission. It is able to polymerize and dry means it can be – and is – used as a binder for oil paints. Erucic acid is broken down long-chain acyl-coenzyme A (CoA) dehydrogenase, which is formed in the liver. This enzyme breaks long chain fatty acid into shorter-chain fatty acids.
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