Degraded Terpenes

Sometimes with oxygenated compounds not having 10, 15 or 20 carbon atoms, it is difficult to see if they have a terpenoid or polyketide origin. 6-Methyl-6-hepten-2-one and its corresponding alcohol (also known as sulcatol) occur widely as insect pheromones. Seen as direct retro-aldol products from geranial (Figure 6.16) their terpene origin is clear. By analogy with the formation of brevicomin (Figure 6.10), the bicyclic ketal in Figure 6.16 can be seen as formed from 6-methyl-6-hepten-2-one. A whole series of these compounds have been found in the army ant Aenictus rotundatus and in some stingless bees.

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