Linalool (/ -, - , - /,) refers to two enantiomers of a naturally occurring terpene alcohol found in many flowers and spice plants. Linalool has multiple commercial applications, the majority of which are based on its pleasant scent (floral, with a touch of spiciness). A colorless oil, linalool is classified as an acyclic monoterpenoid. In plants, it is a metabolite, a volatile oil component, an antimicrobial agent, and an aroma compound. Linalool has uses in manufacturing of soaps, fragrances, food additives as flavors, household products, and insecticides.
|Preferred IUPAC name
3,7-Dimethyl-1,6-octadien-3-ol, β-linalool, linalyl alcohol, linaloyl oxide, allo-ocimenol
3D model (JSmol)
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
|Molar mass||154.253 g·mol−1|
|Density||0.858 to 0.868 g/cm3|
|Melting point||< −20 °C (−4 °F; 253 K)|
|Boiling point||198 to 199 °C (388 to 390 °F; 471 to 472 K)|
|NFPA 704 (fire diamond)|
|Flash point||55 °C (131 °F; 328 K)|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
|what is ?)(|
Both enantiomeric forms are found in nature: (S)-linalool is found, for example, as a major constituent of the essential oils of coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.), cymbopogon (Cymbopogon martini var. martinii), and sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) flowers. (R)-linalool is present in lavender (Lavandula officinalis), bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), and sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum), among others.
Each enantiomer evokes different neural responses in humans, so are classified as possessing distinct scents. (S)-(+)-Linalool is perceived as sweet, floral, petitgrain-like (odor threshold 7.4 ppb) and the (R)-form as more woody and lavender-like (odor threshold 0.8 ppb).
Over 200 species of plants produce linalool, mainly from the families Lamiaceae (mint and other herbs), Lauraceae (laurels, cinnamon, rosewood), and Rutaceae (citrus fruits), but also birch trees and other plants, from tropical to boreal climate zones.
- Cinnamomum tamala
- Cannabis sativa
- Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort)
- Humulus lupulus
The biosynthesis of linalool in higher plants starts at the condensation of dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP) and isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) to form geranyl pyrophosphate (GPP). With the aid of linalool synthase (LIS), water attacks to form the chiral center. LIS appears to show a limonene synthase-type catalysis through a simplified "metal-cofactor-binding domain [where the majority] of the residues involved in substrate...binding [are] in the C-terminal part of the protein" suggesting stereoselectivity and the reasoning behind why some plants have varying levels of each enantiomer.
Odor and flavorEdit
Linalool has complex odor and flavor properties. Its odor is similar to floral, spicy wood, somewhat resembling French lavender plants, bergamot oil or lily of the valley. It has a light, citrus-like flavor, sweet with a spicy tropical accent.
Linalool is used as a scent in 60% to 80% of perfumed hygiene products and cleaning agents, including soaps, detergents, shampoos, and lotions. It exhibits antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
In addition, linalool is used as an insecticide against flea, fruit fly, and cockroach. It can also be used as a method of pest control for codling moths. Linalool creates a synergistic effect with the codling moth's pheromone called codlemone, which increases attraction of males. Linalool is used in some mosquito-repellent products; however, the U.S. EPA notes that "a preliminary screen of labels for products containing [l]inalool (as the sole active ingredient) indicates that efficacy data on file with the Agency may not support certain claims to repel mosquitos."
Safety and potential toxicityEdit
Linalool can be absorbed by inhalation of its aerosol and by oral intake or skin absorption, potentially causing irritation, pain and allergic reactions. Some 7% of people undergoing patch testing in Europe were found to be allergic to the oxidized form of linalool.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists linalool in the Code of Federal Regulations under substances generally recognized as safe, synthetic flavoring substances and adjuvants. 
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