Sodium Levulinate; Levulinic Acid

Levulinic acid is a biochemical compound of the group of the oxocarboxylic acids. Synonyms are 4-oxopentanoic acid or 4-oxovaleric acid. The substance which is receiving growing attention, probably, for the first time, intentionally was produced and classified in 1869.

A chemical process frequently used to produce the substance is the hydrolysis of cellulose.

Levulinic acid also develops as a by-product of chemical reactions. It is built as a waste product in large quantities in the course of sugar processing. Levulinic acid develops in the usual and common procedure of heating hexoses, i.e. oligosaccharides such as glucose or fructose, with hydrochloric acid.


For a long time, hardly any importance had been attached to that substance. However, now it is exciting curiosity because of its possible potential to substitute petroleum which is becoming increasingly scarce. Professor Marko Mihovilovic and a team of scientists at the University of Technology in Vienna reportedly succeeded with the help of bacteria to regulate the development of levulinic acid in a way that it can be used in the production of basic chemicals that today still require petroleum. Even its use as an alternative missile fuel seems to be possible.


The use of levulinic acid

Besides the future possibilities not yet perfected, levulinic acid is already an established basic compound for the production of many chemicals and raw ingredients in several fields. It is further specialized as a raw material in the production of additives, softening agents, and in many frequently used plastics. Medicines and cosmetics begin to discover their use.


Below, you see the raw materials we prefer:

PRESERVASOLWater + Phenethyl Alcohol + Glycerin + Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside + Levulinic Acid + Undecylenoyl Glycine + Sodium LevulinateRes Pharma Industriale
Naturotics PlusPentylene Glycol + Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract + Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract + Thujopsis Dolabrata Branch Extract + Sorbitan Caprylate + Magnolia Kobus Bark Extract + Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract + Levulinic AcidBio Spectrum
Cosphaderm LATLevulinic Acid + Glycerin + Sodium Levulinate + AquaCosphatec



Levulinic acid in cosmetics

Internationally declared as Levulinic Acid, the versatile acid and their salts are popular perfume ingredients in skincare. Their typical notes of caramel or vanilla impart a pleasant fragrance.  Even more interesting are the antibacterial and fungicide effects of levulinic acid. They qualify it as an ingredient in products for skin impurities and as an additive in cleansing lotions for the genital area.

Levulinic acid is not declared as a preservative and therefore is ideal as a natural preservative method in natural cosmetics.




Empirical formula: C5H8O3

INCI: Levulinic Acid

CAS number: 123-76-2

EINECS/ELINCS number: 123-76-2


Physical data

Molar mass: 116.115 g mol-1

Melting point: 33 – 35 °C

Boiling point:  245 – 246 °C

Density:  1.1447 g cm -3 at 20°C


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