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The Discovery of Glycerin

Glycerin is a colorless, transparent and odorless sweet syrupy liquid. The word is derived from the Greek word glykys, meaning sweet. In 1779, Swedish scientist K.W. Shele discovered glycerin in a hydrolysate of olive oil. Initially, glycerin was used in the manufacture of glue and cork, and over time applications extended to use in dye auxiliaries for textiles and ink. In 1867, A.B. Nobel manufactured dynamite from glycerin, a development that proved a major turning point in the expansion of applications for glycerin.

The Glycerin Manufacturing Process

Glycerin is prevalent in higher plants and seaweed and in animals. In humans, glycerin is accumulated subcutaneously or in muscle tissue in the form of lipids. Substances for which fatty acids are ester-bonded to all three hydroxyl groups in the glycerin structure are known as lipids or oils and fats. There are two types of glycerin: natural glycerin derived from oils and fats from such sources as coconuts, and synthetic glycerin derived from petroleum. In the manufacture of natural glycerin, normally crude glycerin is produced by first refining and condensing an aqueous solution (sweet water) obtained from hydrolysis of oils and fats, then further distilling and refining the solution until arriving at the finished product. At present, because of the need to reuse resources, natural glycerin is the predominate type manufactured worldwide. Sakamoto Yakuhin Kogyo sells natural glycerin that it manufactures both in Japan and the Philippines.

Composition/Information on Ingredients

Synonyms Glycerol, 1, 2, 3-Propanetriol
Cas Registry Number 56-81-5

Physical and Properties

Appearance Colorless and viscous liquid
Boiling Point 290°C
Melting Point 20°C
Specific Gravity 1.26 (20/20°C)
Flash Point 177°C (Cleveland Open Cup)
Autoignition Temperature 393°C


Applications include pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, toiletries, food products, monoglyceride, polyurethane, cellophane, films, toothpaste, mouthwash, inks, fragrant materials, cigarettes and cigarette filters.

Toxicological Information

Acute Toxicity Oral 12600 mg/kg (rat)
Irritant Properties Skin rabbit 500 mg/24H mild

Treatment of Website Content

The content of this website is based on materials, information, and data available at the time of preparation. Sakamoto Yakuhin Kogyo provides no warranty or guarantee with respect to content, physiochemical properties, or dangerous or harmful effects of substances described herein. The precautions and suggestions herein apply to ordinary handling of products. In the event of special handling, be sure to implement safety measures appropriate to the application and the method of use prior to using the product.

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