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Please be aware that this old REACH registration data factsheet is no longer maintained; it remains frozen as of 19th May 2023.

The new ECHA CHEM database has been released by ECHA, and it now contains all REACH registration data. There are more details on the transition of ECHA's published data to ECHA CHEM here.

Diss Factsheets

Administrative data

Link to relevant study record(s)

Description of key information

Members of the category "pentanols" are metabolised rapidly and to a high extent. The main metabolic pathway for the degradation of these primary pentanols is the formation of aldehydes via oxidation by alcohol dehydrogenases, and subsequently the formation of the corresponding acids. Additionally, oxidation of pentanols via hepatic CYP P450 enzymes and glucuronidation were observed. The metabolisation products are renally excreted.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Bioaccumulation potential:
no bioaccumulation potential

Additional information

There are no state of the art pharmacokinetic studies available with 2 -methylbutanol or its structural analogues in animals or humans, but these substances have been subject of investigation in numerous in vivo and in vitro studies concerning their metabolism, distribution and elimination.

Due to their structural similarities, effects observed after administration of the single isomeric pentanols are expected to be caused by all members of this group of chemicals to the same or comparable extent (pentan-1-ol, 2-methylbutan-1-ol, 3-methylbutan-1-ol and pentanol, branched and linear).




Absorption of 3-methylbutan-1-ol occured after oral (Kamilet al.1953) and also inhalative exposure (Kumagaiet al.1999). Pentan-1-ol was shown to be dermally absorbed at rates depending on the vehicle and temperature (skin permeability from pentan-1-ol in water was determined to be 20 cm/hr at 5°C to 900 cm/hr at 50°C) (Blanket al.1967).

A further study determined permeability data of pentan-1-ol for human epidermis (Scheuplein & Blank 1971):

1. as aqueous solution:

- partition coefficient (Km) = 5.0;

- permeability constant at zero volume flow (kp) = 6.0 cm/hr

- membrane diffusivity (Dm) = 0.88 E-09 cm2/sec;

2. as pure liquid:

- partition coefficient (Km) = 0.11;

- permeability constant at zero volume flow (kp) = 0.051 cm/hr

- membrane diffusivity (Dm) = 0.17 E-09 cm2/sec.


Taken together, pentanols are considered to be absorbed via oral, inhalation and dermal route. This assumption is confirmed by the results of the toxicity studies described in section 5, as clinical symptoms and mortality evidence systemic availability of the substances.




After inhalative exposure (2 hours) to vapour concentrations of 2000 ppm (corresponding to approx. 7.32 mg/L) pentan-1-ol and a mixture of pentan-1-ol and 2-methylbutan-1-ol, respectively, in the blood of male Sprague-Dawley rats the corresponding acid metabolites valeric acid and methyl butyric acid were detected. Valeric acid was found at all times at only trace amounts between 3–7 µM, whereas methyl butyric acid was detected at blood concentrations between 5.2 and 25.1 µM (Oxo Process Panel – ACC 2004).


In conclusion, after absorption the molecules will be readily metabolised and their metabolisation products will be distributed through the bloodstream. The category members and their acid metabolites are generally highly water soluble but nevertheless seem to be able to pass the blood-brain barrier and have access to the CNS. This assumption was further confirmed by results of a repeated dose toxicity study with 3-methylbutan-1-ol, where sedation in behaviour was observed in some animals. Transient narcotic effects of pentan-1-ol and 3-methylnutan-1-ol were reported in publications (Maickel & Nash 1985, Frantiket al. 1994). No selective or cumulative neurotoxicity was observed.







The amounts of unchanged pentanols exhaled into air or excreted into urine were found to be low (Haggardet al.1945).Generally, pentanols were found to be metabolised rapidly and to a high extent (Haggardet al.1945, Greenberg 1970). Pentanols are mainly metabolized in the liver. Several in vitro studies are available assessing the metabolisation of pentanols:

In vitro experiments conducted with Class I, II and III alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH) isolated from human liver demonstrated that oxidation of 2-methylbutan-1-ol and 3-methylbutan-1-ol (at 10-100 µM) to the corresponding aldehydes was mainly mediated by the isoenzymes of Class I ADH. At pharmacologically relevant concentrations of ethanol, the oxidation of the isoamyl alcohols was inhibited in vitro since these congeners and ethanol compete for the same metabolising enzymes (Ehriget al.1988).

This notion is supported by in vivo experiments in rats (Greenberg 1970) and in the isolated perfused rat liver (Auty & Branch 1976). Isovaleraldehyde has been identified as intermediary metabolite of 3-methylbutan-1-ol (Greenberg 1970). The formed aldehydes are again rapidly metabolised, presumably to the corresponding acids (Haggardet al.1945).

Hepatic and pulmonary alcohol dehydrogenase activities were investigated in cytosolic fractions prepared from Sprague-Dawley male rats after addition of pentan-1-ol. Pulmonary ADH activity was considerably lower than hepatic ADH activity. Optimum conditions for pulmonary ADH activity were found to require an alkaline pH and high substrate concentrations suggesting a minimal role for the lung in the metabolism of alcohols in the intact animal (Carlson & Olson 1995).


In vitro experiments have demonstrated additional oxidation of pentan-1-ol, 3-methylbutan-1-ol, and 2-methylbutan-1-ol by rat liver microsomes via CYP P450 enzymes, and glucuronidation (Iwersen & Schmoldt 1995). After gavage administration of a dose of 25 mmol amyl alcohol/rabbit (corresponding to approx. 735 mg/kg bw) 7 %, 9 %, and 10 % of the dose was excreted by the rabbits into urine as glucuronides, when they had received pentan-1-ol, 3-methylbutan-1-ol, and 2-methylbutan-1-ol, respectively (Kamilet al. 1953).




The amounts of unchanged pentanols exhaled into air or excreted into urine were found to be low (Haggardet al.1945). After metabolisation to acids or glucuronidation the molecules are renally excreted. No major differences were found and are to be expected regarding excretion of the metabolised category members.