Conversion of β-Phellandrene into a Derivative of α-Phellandrene


RECENT observations1,2,3 of the co-existence of α-and β-phellandrenes in certain essential oils suggest a possible biogenetic relationship between these two terpenes. So far as we are aware no evidence of such an interconversion has been put forward although this might be anticipated from the apparently analogous conversion of β-pinene into α-pinene4. Since this lack of evidence may be due to the difficulty in detecting small quantities of one isomer in the presence of the other, it may be of interest to note that by condensation of maleic anhydride with lβ-phellandrene we have obtained a product which, from its melting point, mixed melting point and rotation, is apparently identical with the compound obtained from lα-phellandrene3. The lβ-phellandrene employed was obtained from Canada balsam oil which has been shown to be free from α-phellandrene3.


  1. 1

    Berry, Macbeth and Swanson, J. Chem. Soc., 1444 (1937).

  2. 2

    Duncan, Sherwood and Short, J. Soc. Chem. Ind., 50, 410T (1931).

  3. 3

    Goodway and West, J. Soc. Chem. Ind. (In Press.)

  4. 4

    Simonsen, “The Terpenes,” 2, 169 (1932).

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GOODWAY, N., WEST, T. Conversion of β-Phellandrene into a Derivative of α-Phellandrene. Nature 140, 934 (1937).

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