Behenic acid (IUPAC
name Docosanoic acid
is a normal carboxylic acid, a fatty acid with the molecular formula CH3
COOH. In appearance, it consists of
white to cream color crystals or powder with a melting point of 74-78 °C and boiling point of 306 °C.
At 9%, it is a major component of Ben oil (or behen oil), which is extracted from the seeds of the Ben-oil tree. It is so named from the Persian
month Bahman when the roots of this tree were harvested.
Behenic acid is also present in some other oils and oil-bearing plants, including
and skins. It is estimated that one ton of peanut skins contains 13 pounds of behenic acid. Commercially, behenic acid is often used to give hair
conditioners and moisturizers their smoothing properties.
As a dietary oil, behenic acid is poorly absorbed. In spite of its low bioavailability compared with oleic acid, behenic acid is a
cholesterol-raising fatty acid in humans.
Reduction of behenic acid yields behenyl alcohol.