Sorbitan monostearate

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Sorbitan monostearate
Sorbitan monostearate.svg
IUPAC name
Octadecanoic acid [2-[(2R,3S,4R)-3,4-dihydroxy-2-tetrahydrofuranyl]-2-hydroxyethyl] ester[citation needed]
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.014.241 Edit this at Wikidata
E number E491 (thickeners, ...)
  • InChI=1S/C24H46O6/c1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-22(27)29-19-21(26)24-23(28)20(25)18-30-24/h20-21,23-26,28H,2-19H2,1H3/t20-,21+,23+,24+/m0/s1 checkY
  • InChI=1/C24H46O6/c1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-22(27)29-19-21(26)24-23(28)20(25)18-30-24/h20-21,23-26,28H,2-19H2,1H3/t20-,21+,23+,24+/m0/s1
Molar mass 430.62 g/mol
Appearance Waxy powder
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Sorbitan monostearate is an ester of sorbitan (a sorbitol derivative) and stearic acid and is sometimes referred to as a synthetic wax.[1]


Sorbitan monostearate is primarily used as an emulsifier to keep water and oils mixed. Sorbitan monostearate is used in the manufacture of food and healthcare products and is a non-ionic surfactant with emulsifying, dispersing, and wetting properties[citation needed]. It is also employed to create synthetic fibers, metal machining fluid, and brighteners in the leather industry, and as an emulsifier in coatings, pesticides, and various applications in the plastics, food and cosmetics industries. Sorbitans are also known as "Spans".

Sorbitan monostearate has been approved by the European Union for use as a food additive (emulsifier) (E number: E 491).[2]

Compendial status[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ingredients – Sorbitan Monostearate at
  2. ^ Current EU approved additives and their E Numbers, Food Standards Agency, 26 November 2010
  3. ^ The British Pharmacopoeia Secretariat (2009). "Index, BP 2009" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 April 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2010.