Cod liver oil

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A pale yellow, nondrying oil expressed from the fresh livers of cod fish (Gadus morhua). Cod liver oil primarily contains unsaturated fatty acids (palmitoleic [20%], oleic and linoleic [29% combined]) with smaller amounts of saturated fatty acids (myristic [7.3%], palmitic [8.4%], and stearic [0.6]) and some Cholesterol. It is a dietary source of vitamins A and D and was used medicinally in the 18th and 19th centuries for the treatment of rickets. Cod liver oil is a primary agent in the tanning of Chamois leather. It is also mixed with Zinc oxide and sold in commercial protective creams (Desitin, etc.)

Synonyms and Related Terms

Gadus morhua; aceite de hígado de bacalao (Esp.); olio di fegato di merluzzo (It); cod-liver oil; cod oil; morrhua oil

Examples include: Gaduol; Tunol


  • Combustible.
  • Humco: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in ether, chloroform, ethyl acetate, carbon disulfide. Slightly soluble in ethanol. Saponification value 180-190. Iodine value 145-180.

CAS 8001-69-2
Density 0.918-0.927 g/ml
Refractive Index 1.4705-1.4745

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 2530
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998