Isoamyl alcohol is an ingredient in the production of banana oil, an ester found in nature and also produced as a flavouring in industry. It is a common fusel alcohol, produced as a major by-product of ethanol fermentation.
Besides its use in the synthesis of banana oil, isoamyl alcohol is also an ingredient of Kovac's reagent, used for the bacterial diagnostic indole test.
It is also used as an antifoaming agent in the chloroform isoamyl alcohol reagent.
Isoamyl alcohol is used in a phenol–chloroform extraction mixed with the chloroform to further inhibit RNase activity and prevent solubility of RNAs with long tracts of poly-adenine.