Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Dec;1763(12):1403-12. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2006.07.012. Epub 2006 Jul 26.


Phytanic acid (3,7,11,15-tetramethylhexadecanoic acid) is a branched chain fatty acid, which is a constituent of the human diet. The presence of the 3-methyl group of phytanic acid prevents degradation by beta-oxidation. Instead, the terminal carboxyl group is first removed by alpha-oxidation. The mechanism of the alpha-oxidation pathway and the enzymes involved are described in this review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aldehydes / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Peroxisomes / physiology*
  • Phytanic Acid / chemistry
  • Phytanic Acid / metabolism*
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Aldehydes
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • pristanal
  • Phytanic Acid