fusel oil

(redirected from Fusel alcohol)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

fusel oil

(fyo͞o`zəl), oily, colorless liquid with a disagreeable odor and taste. It is a mixture of alcohols (largely amyl alcohols) and fatty acids, formed during the alcoholic fermentation of organic materials. After imperfect distillation of these fermentation products it becomes an impurity in the distilled liquor. Fusel oil is used as a solvent in the manufacture of certain lacquers and enamels (it dissolves nitrocellulose). It has a detrimental effect on the human system.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fusel Oil


a by-product of ethyl alcohol fermentation. Ethyl alcohol may yield 0.4–0.6 percent fusel oil, with a density of 0.83–0.84 g/cm3 at 20°C. The fusel oil is in the form of a light yellow to dark reddish brown oily liquid with an unpleasant odor that irritates the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. In chemical composition fusel oil is a mixture of monohydric aliphatic alcohols, including isopentyl and isobutyl alcohols, with impurities of acids, aldehydes, and other compounds. Fusel oil is poisonous.

The mixture of amyl alcohols obtained from fusel oil is used in the production of amyl acetate, and the mixture of hexyl, heptyl, octyl, and nonyl alcohols is used in the preparation of fragrances.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

fusel oil

[′fyü·zəl ‚ȯil]
A volatile, poisonous mixture of isoamyl, butyl, propyl, and heptyl alcohols produced as by-products in alcoholic fermentation of starches, grains, or fruits to produce ethyl alcohol.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The biochemical pathway for creation of fusel alcohols is similar to the formation of amino acids, such as leucine and valine, aside from the last few steps.
(16-18) If nitrogenous compounds are lacking in the must (ammonia or free amino nitrogen), the yeast will be forced to scavenge nitrogen from available amino acids, and the transamination process will leave behind fusel alcohols as a byproduct.
(3) The high molecular weight of fusel alcohols gives them higher boiling points.
"Notable fusel alcohols, and unpleasant bitterness," Von Bair said.