Waxes

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Lipids

Waxes are esters of long-chain fatty acids and alcohols. The fatty acids are same in wax and fats, but the difference being saponification. Waxes are saponified only by alcoholic alkali but the fats may be saponified either by alcoholic alkali or by aqueous alkali.


WAXES

 

 

Waxes are esters of long-chain fatty acids and alcohols. The fatty acids are same in wax and fats, but the difference being saponification. Waxes are saponified only by alcoholic alkali but the fats may be saponified either by alcoholic alkali or by aqueous alkali. Along with fatty acids it also contains monohydroxy alcohols of high molecular weight especially cetyl alcohol, melissyl alcohol, and myricyl alcohol. Some-times cholesterol or phytosterols are also present.

 

As such they are not suitable as food because hydrolysing enzymes of wax are not present in system. Waxes are widely distributed in nature. The leaves and fruits of many plants have waxy coatings, which may protect them from dehydration and small predators. The feathers of birds and the fur of some animals have similar coatings which serve as a water repellent.

 

Spermaceti, beeswax, carnuba wax, etc. are the examples of waxes.

 

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