Ethyl formate is among the largest organic molecules unambiguously detected by radio astronomers in the interstellar medium. It is also called ethyl methanoate. Ethyl formate is partly responsible for the flavor of raspberries, and it has the characteristic odor of rum.
The trans conformer of ethyl formate was detected in the Galactic Center molecular cloud Sagittarius B2(N) by Belloche et al. (2009), who suggest that it may be produced by surface reactions on interstellar dust grains, perhaps involving precursors such as methyl formate and ethanol (for the definition of conformers, see isomer). More recently, the gauche conformer has also been detected, in a line survey of the Orion molecular cloud (Tercero et al. 2013). Ethyl formate is the second formate, after methyl formate, to be detected in the interstellar medium. Its isomermethyl acetate (CH3COOCH3) has also been recently detected in a molecular cloud in the Milky Way.