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Home> Encyclopedia >   /  Feed Additives  /  Pharmaceutical Intermediates  /  Emulsifiers
Lecithin structure
Lecithin structure


Iupac Name:2-[[(2R)-3-hexadecanoyloxy-2-[(9Z,12Z)-octadeca-9,12-dienoyl]oxypropoxy]-hydroxyphosphoryl]oxyethyl-trimethylazanium
CAS No.: 8002-43-5
Molecular Weight:759.083
Modify Date.: 2022-11-12 07:18
Introduction: Food-grade lecithin is obtained from soybeans and other plantsources. It is a complex mixture of acetone-insoluble phosphatides that consists chiefly of phosphatidyl choline, phosphatidyl etha nolamine, and phosphatidyl inositol, combined with various amounts of other substances such as triglycerides, fatty acids, and carbohydrates. Refined grades of lecithin may contain any of these components in varying proportions and combinations depending on the type of fractionation used. In its oil-free form, the prepon-derance of triglycerides and fatty acids is removed and the product contains 90% or more of phosphatides representing all or certain fractions of the total phosphatide complex. The consistency of both natural grades and refined grades of lecithin may vary from plastic to fluid, depending upon free fatty acid and oil content, and upon the presence or absence of other diluents. Its color varies from light yellow to brown, depending on the source, on crop variations, and on whether it is bleached or unbleached. It is odorless or has a characteristic, slight nutlike odor and a bland taste. Edible diluents, such as cocoa butter and vegetable oils, often replace soybean oil to improve functional and flavor characteris tics. Lecithin is only partially soluble in water, but it readily hydrates to form emulsions. The oil-free phosphatides are soluble in fatty acids, but are practically insoluble in fixed oils. When all phosphatide fractions are present, lecithin is partially soluble in alcohol and practically insoluble in acetone. View more+
1. Names and Identifiers
1.1 Name
1.2 Synonyms

(2R)-2-[(9Z,12Z)-9,12-Octadecadienoyloxy]-3-(palmitoyloxy)propyl 2-(trimethylammonio)ethyl phosphate 1-hexadecanoyl-2-(9Z,12Z-octadecadienoyl)-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine 2-[(9Z,12Z)-9,12-Octadecadienoyloxy]-3-(palmitoyloxy)propyl 2-(trimethylammonio)ethyl phosphate Alcolec-S EINECS 232-307-2 Ethanaminium, 2-[[hydroxy[(2R)-3-[(1-oxohexadecyl)oxy]-2-[[(9Z,12Z)-1-oxo-9,12-octadecadien-1-yl]oxy]propoxy]phosphinyl]oxy]-N,N,N-trimethyl-, inner salt Ethanaminium, 2-[[hydroxy[3-[(1-oxohexadecyl)oxy]-2-[[(9Z,12Z)-1-oxo-9,12-octadecadien-1-yl]oxy]propoxy]phosphinyl]oxy]-N,N,N-trimethyl-, inner salt froM Egg granulestin kelecin LECITHIN GRANULAR G2C (EPIKURON 100G2C) LECITHIN POWDER LECITHIN,ENZYME-MODIFIED LECITHIN,GRANULAR,FCC LECITHIN,GRANULAR,NF l-α-phosphatidylcholine solution l-α-phosphatidylcholine, hydrogenated PHOSPHATIDYLCHOLINE(LECITHIN)(RG) Phospholutein

1.3 CAS No.
1.4 CID
1.6 Molecular Formula
C42H80NO8P (isomer)
1.7 Inchi
1.8 InChkey
1.9 Canonical Smiles
1.10 Isomers Smiles
2. Properties
3.1 Density
1.0305 (20 C)
3.1 Melting point
3.1 Flash Point
57 °C
3.1 Precise Quality
3.1 PSA
3.1 logP
3.1 Solubility
chloroform: 0.1?g/mL, slightly hazy, slightly yellow to deep orange
3.2 Appearance
yellow to light brown solid.
3.3 Storage
Ambient temperatures.
3.4 Chemical Properties
Lecithins vary greatly in their physical form, from viscoussemiliquids to powders, depending upon the free fatty acid content.They may also vary in color from brown to light yellow, dependingupon whether they are bleached or unbleached or on the degree ofpurity. When they are exposed to air, rapid oxidation occurs, alsoresulting in a dark yellow or brown color. Lecithins have practically no odor. Those derived from vegetablesources have a bland or nutlike taste, similar to that of soybean oil.
3.5 Color/Form
3.6 Water Solubility
Insoluble in water. chloroform: 0.1 g/mL, slightly hazy, slightly yellow to deep orange
3.7 Stability
Stable, but light, heat, moisture and air-sensitive. Incompatible with strong oxidizing agents.
3.8 StorageTemp
3. Use and Manufacturing
4.1 Definition
ChEBI: A glycerophosphocholine compound having O-acyl substituents at both the 1- and 2-positions of the glycerol. It is a major constituent of cell membranes.
4.2 Produe Method
Lecithins are essential components of cell membranes and, inprinciple, may be obtained from a wide variety of living matter. Inpractice, however, lecithins are usually obtained from vegetableproducts such as soybean, peanut, cottonseed, sunflower, rapeseed,corn, or groundnut oils. Soybean lecithin is the most commerciallyimportant vegetable lecithin. Lecithin obtained from eggs is alsocommercially important and was the first lecithin to be discovered. Vegetable lecithins are obtained as a by-product in the vegetableoil refining process. Polar lipids are extracted with hexane and, afterremoval of the solvent, a crude vegetable oil is obtained. Lecithin isthen removed from the crude oil by water extraction. Followingdrying, the lecithin may be further purified. With egg lecithin, a different manufacturing process must beused since the lecithin in egg yolks is more tightly bound to proteinsthan in vegetable sources. Egg lecithin is thus obtained by solventextraction from liquid egg yolks using acetone or from freeze-driedegg yolks using ethanol (95%). Synthetic lecithins may also be produced.
4.3 Purification Methods
Lecithin from hen egg white is purified by solvent extraction and chromatography on alumina. It is suspended in H2O and kept frozen until required [Lee & Hunt J Am Chem Soc 106 7411 1984, Singleton et al. J Am Oil Chem Soc 42 53 1965]. For purification of commercial egg lecithin, see Pangborn [J Biol Chem 188 471 1951].
4.4 Usage
Edible and digestible surfactant and emulsifier of natural origin. Used in margarine, chocolate and in the food industry in general. In pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Many other industrial uses, e.g. treating leather and textiles.
4. Safety and Handling
5.1 Symbol
GHS06, GHS08
5.1 Hazard Codes
T; Xn; F
5.1 Signal Word
5.1 Risk Statements
5.1 Safety Statements
5.1 Packing Group
5.1 Hazard Class
5.1 Hazard Declaration
UN 2810 6
5.1 Caution Statement
P201-P261-P304 + P340 + P312-P305 + P351 + P338-P308 + P313-P403 + P233
5.1 Incompatibilities
Incompatible with esterases owing to hydrolysis.
5.2 WGK Germany
5.2 Safety

Hazard Codes of Lecithin (CAS NO.8002-43-5): ToxicT,HarmfulXn,FlammableF
Risk Statements: 11-48-40-36/37/38-46-45-20/21/22 
R11: Highly flammable. 
R48: Danger of serious damage to health by prolonged exposure. 
R40: Limited evidence of a carcinogenic effect. 
R36/37/38: Irritating to eyes, respiratory system and skin. 
R46: May cause heritable genetic damage. 
R45: May cause cancer. 
R20/21/22: Harmful by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed.
Safety Statements: 7-16-24/25-45-36/37/39-26-53 
S7: Keep container tightly closed. 
S16: Keep away from sources of ignition. 
S24/25: Avoid contact with skin and eyes. 
S45: In case of accident or if you feel unwell, seek medical advice immediately (show the label whenever possible.) 
S36/37/39: Wear suitable protective clothing, gloves and eye/face protection. 
S26: In case of contact with eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of water and seek medical advice. 
S53: Avoid exposure - obtain special instructions before use.
RIDADR: UN 2810 6.1/PG 2
WGK Germany: 3
RTECS: OG7565000
F: 1-8-10

5.3 Specification

Compatibility with special diets
There is evidence to suggest that Lecithin (CAS NO.8002-43-5) itself can lower cholesterol.
Egg-derived Lecithin may be a concern for those following some specialized diets. Egg Lecithin is not a concern for those on low-cholesterol diets (because the Lecithin found in eggs markedly inhibits the absorption of the cholesterol contained in eggs). There is no general agreement among vegetarians concerning egg-derived Lecithin; since it is animal-derived, Jains and vegans choose not to consume it.

5.4 Toxicity

Organism Test Type Route Reported Dose (Normalized Dose) Effect Source
rat LD oral > 8mL/kg (8mL/kg) LIVER: FATTY LIVER DEGERATION

Laboratory Investigation. Vol. 47, Pg. 194, 1982.


2.Hazard identification

2.1 Classification of the substance or mixture

Not classified.

2.2 GHS label elements, including precautionary statements

Pictogram(s) No symbol.
Signal word

No signal word.

Hazard statement(s)


Precautionary statement(s)








2.3 Other hazards which do not result in classification


6. Other Information
6.0 Usage
Lecithin is used as a dietary supplement, food ingredient, and food additive. It is also used as a liquid carrier for plastics additives, dyes or pigments. Its primary functions are as an emulsifier, antioxidant, and release agent.
6.1 Usage
Lecithin is used as an emulsifying and stabilizing agent in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Lecithin is taken as a medicine and is also used in the manufacture of medicines. Soybean lecithin is useful for its application in liquid ram semen. Fractionation process of sunflower lecithin with absolute ethanol was used for obtaining enriched fractions in certain phospholipids.
6.2 Usage
Lecithin is used as an emulsifying and stabilizing agent in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. Lecithin is taken as a medicine and is also used in the manufacturing of medicines. Soybean lecithin is useful for its application in liquid ram semen. Fractionation process of sunflower lecithin with absolute ethanol was used for obtaining enriched fractions in certain phospholipids.
7. Computational chemical data
  • Molecular Weight: 759.083g/mol
  • Molecular Formula: C42H80NO8P
  • Compound Is Canonicalized: True
  • XLogP3-AA: 12.9
  • Exact Mass: 757.56215551
  • Monoisotopic Mass: 757.56215551
  • Complexity: 941
  • Rotatable Bond Count: 40
  • Hydrogen Bond Donor Count: 0
  • Hydrogen Bond Acceptor Count: 8
  • Topological Polar Surface Area: 111
  • Heavy Atom Count: 52
  • Defined Atom Stereocenter Count: 1
  • Undefined Atom Stereocenter Count: 0
  • Defined Bond Stereocenter Count: 2
  • Undefined Bond Stereocenter Count: 0
  • Isotope Atom Count: 0
  • Covalently-Bonded Unit Count: 1
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