ORGLIST: Flower volatile analysis

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From: Jack Sullivan (jsulliva$##$
Date: Wed May 27 1998 - 18:20:30 EDT

Very little has been published in the scientific literature on
collecting, analyzing and identifying the numerous organic chemicals
that are emitted by many exotic flowering plants, including cacti &
other succulents. Most of this work is done privately by major perfume
companies and is considered highly proprietary information.

A glimpse into how this is accomplished and the results that were
obtained from 3 different cactus species can be found in the Swiss
chemical journal Helvetica Chimica Acta vol. 73, pp. 133-139 (1990).

A group of natural products chemists at the major perfume company
Givaudan Forschungsgesellschaft analyzed the "head space" volatiles
emitted by the flowers of Dolichothele longimamma, Rebutia marsoneri and
Sulcorebutia kruegeri.

The comparative results are interesting from a chemotaxonomic view. It's
also interesting to note that some of the major compounds are limonene
(lemon note), beta-phenylethyl alcohol (rose note), methyl benzoate
(floral note) and benzaldehyde (almond-like note).

Of further note is my personal interest in identifying a salicylate
ester that seems to be ubiquitous in many epiphytic cacti and cacti
related to the columnar Trichocereus. Both D. longimamma and S. krugeri
contain significant levels of methyl salicylate.
Jack Sullivan

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