- For a river in Siberia, see Amyl River
In biochemistry, "amyl" means "pertaining to starch", "amylum" being another word for starch. Many terms for moderately complex biological chemicals related to starch contain "amyl", for example:
- Amyloid (based on an early mistaken opinion that these structures contained starch)
Note that in this usage, it is a part of the word, and becomes "amylo" when preceding a consonant.
In organic chemistry, amyl is the old trivial name for the alkyl substituent and radical called pentyl under the IUPAC nomenclature: that is, -C5H11. This usage may derive from the presence of amyl alcohol in fusel oil, which is often fermented from starches. In this usage, amyl (normally) remains a separate word and it does not become "amylo-" before a consonant.
Several important amyl/pentyl compounds are still widely known by their older, amyl names, including:
"Amyl", used to mean "starch" (Latin "amylum"), and was taken from Greek αμυλος = "cake made from fine flour", from α + μυλη = "not mill", the flour not being ground on grindstones as bread flour is, but dried from a pulp of wheat softened with water.
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