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a saturated monobasic carboxylic acid of the aliphatic series; a colorless liquid with a sharp, unpleasant odor, readily soluble in water and organic solvents.
Butyric acid has two known isomers: n-butyric acid, CH3CH2CH2COOH (boiling point, 163°C; density, 0.958 g/cm3 at 20°C); and isobutyric acid (CH3)2CHCOOH (boiling point, 155°C; density, 0.949 g/cm3 at 20°C). The first can be obtained by the oxidation of n-butanol or by the fermentation of waste products containing starch; the second, by the oxidation of isobutanol. Derivatives of n -butyric acid, or glycerides, are components of animal fats (for example, butter). Butyric acid esters, which have a fruity or floral odor, are of practical significance: certain types are used as aromatic principles in the perfume and food industries, and others as masticators in the preparation of varnishes.