Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
bu·ta·no·ic ac·id(byū'tă-nō'ik as'id),
Systematic name for normal n-butyric acid.
An oily carboxylic acid which smells like rancid butter, has an acrid taste and a sweetish aftertaste, like ether. It is present in rancid butter, parmesan cheese and vomit, and is produced in anaerobic fermentation by bacteria in the colon and axilla (resulting in body odour). It is used as a flavourant, perfume additive and cattle-feed supplement.
It is believed to have anticarcinogenic activity, especially the derivative, sodium butyrate.