Myristic acid (IUPAC
name Tetradecanoic acid
) is a
saturated fatty acid with the molecular formula CH3
COOH. A myristate is a salt or ester of myristic acid.
Myristic acid is named after the nutmeg (Myristica fragrans).
is 82% trimyristin, the triglyceride
of myristic acid. Besides nutmeg, myristic acid is also found in
fat and spermacetin, the crystallized fraction of oil from the sperm whale.
Myristic acid is also commonly added co-translationally to the penultimate, nitrogen terminus, glycine in receptor-associated kinases to confer the
membrane localisation of the enzyme. The myristic acid has a sufficiently high hydrophobicity to become incorporated into the fatty acyl core of the
phospholipid bilayer of the plasma membrane of the eukaryotic cell. In this way, myristic acid acts as a lipid anchor in biomembranes.
The ester isopropyl myristate is used in cosmetic and topical medicinal preparations where good absorption through the skin is desired. Reduction of
myristic acid yields myristyl alcohol.