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What's a terpene - Essay Example

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According to Encyclopedia Britannica, a terpene is a hydrocarbon that occurs widely in animals and plants for example the conifers, termites and even some species of butterflies. Research indicates that plant terpenes like the sterols and even carotenes (also known as…
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Whats a terpene
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Download file to see previous pages Terpene is usually built up from an isoprene which is a type of a hydrocarbon that has five carbon atoms which are attached to the eight hydrogen atoms with the formula C5 H8 (Stewart 258). Terpenes usually occur after a biological formation of a combination of two molecules of acetic acid and mevalonic acid (C6 H12 O4) which is converted to isopentenyl pyrophosphate that latter transforms to isopentenyl compound that leads to occurrence of terpenes and terpenoids (which are oxygenated derivatives of the hydrocarbons that make up the terpene).
Terpenes that are considered to be the true ones are those that are grouped according to the number of isoprene units in the molecules which usually includes two units of monoterpenes (C10 H16), six units of triterpenes (C30 H48), three units of sesquiterpene (C15 H24), eight units of tetraterpenes (C40 H64) and four units of diterpenes (C20 H32).
Terpenes are used to make turpentine (that comes from the name terpene) which has several monoterpenes, resin (consisting of rosin acid and diterpenes), and even steroids (which are made from conversion of triterpene squalene that is usually obtained in the liver oil of sharks). Since terpene (diterpenes, monoterpenes and even sesquterpenes) is a constituent of the essential oils that are in many plants and animals, it is used to make fragrances used in perfumes and even the natural food additives.
Other examples of terpene in its different form other than those mentioned above include vitamin A, hops (used to make some brands of beer), contribute to making of insecticides and recent research by biochemists in Norwich, England discovered that terpene through its bioactive cyclic molecule iridoid is a building block to potential anticancer agents (monoterpene indole alkaloids). Since plants that produce terpenes are aromatic, they are used in cooking. Terpenes are also an important ingredient in making of medicine such as marinol, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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