The history of heptaldehyde (n-heptanal, enanthaldehyde) as a starting material for the production of odor compounds goes back to the beginning of the 20th century. Since then it has established itself as an important chemical in the synthesis of aroma compounds.
Heptanal belongs to the cheapest aldehydic starting materials suitable for synthesis of odoriferous compounds. This article is intended to survey its chemistry in this aspect.
The major use for heptanal is in the flavor and fragrance industry. This article will describe selected areas of groups of compounds where perfumery interest and organic chemical developments have impinged on each other.
Nowadays any rich natural source of the aldehyde is not known, but fortunately it can be produced easily from olefine hydrocarbons or by pyrolysis of ricinoleic acid esters.