Pyrolysis of some fatty and amino acids



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Myristic, palmitic and stearic acid were pyrolyzed at 300°C for two hours. In addition to olefins, straight-chain alkanes were found having a carbon number of up to 6 greater than the original fatty acid. The predominant n-alkane is the one that results from the decarboxylation of the fatty acid. Pyrolysis under pressure as well as increased heating time were not found to significantly improve the transformation of the fatty acid to aliphatic hydrocarbons. Mixed fatty acids and the methanol fraction of a bacterium were pyrolyzed and gave products which were a predictable result of the decarboxylation of the parent compounds, as well as additional hydrocarbons. Phytanic acid was pyrolyzed and gave predominantly branched alkanes. The decarboxylation product, pristane, was not obtained in major yield, but some straight chain alkanes were produced. These results are compared to the hydrogenolysis and thermal degradation of phytol, which gave important yields of pristane and phytane. Two amino acids were pyrolyzed, L-leucine and L-alanine. No hydrocarbons were produced and it was concluded that amino acids are not an important source of petroleum hydrocarbons.