Letter | Published:

Comparison of the Reaction of N-bromo-succinimide with Phytoene and Lycopersene

Naturevolume 199pages491492 (1963) | Download Citation



IT is now well established that phytoene (I) is a precursor of the coloured carotenoids such as ζ-carotene and lycopene1,2. If the biosynthesis of carotenoids were exactly analogous to that of sterols then lycopersene (II), the 40-C analogue of squalene, would be the first 40-C precursor formed. The consensus of opinion is that this compound is probably not a naturally occurring material and is not a carotenoid precursor1,3–5; the opposite view is, however, held by Grob et al.7,8. Zechmeister and Koe9 showed in 1954 that N-bromosuccinimide dehydrogenates phytoene to phytofluene (III) and ζ-carotene (IV), compounds now known to be intermediates between phytoene and lycopene (V). It was of importance to know what action N-bromosuccinimide, which imitates nature in its reaction with phytoene, would have on lycopersene under similar conditions.

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    Porter, J. W., and Anderson, D. G., Arch. Biochem. Biophys., 97, 520, (1962).

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    Davies, B. H., Goodwin, T. W., and Mercer, E. I., Biochem. J., 81, 40, P (1961).

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    Mercer, E. I., Davies, B. H., and Goodwin, T. W., Biochem. J., 87, 317 (1963).

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    Davies, B. H., Jones, D., and Goodwin, T. W., Biochem. J., 87, 326 (1963).

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    Anderson, D. G., and Porter, J. W., Arch. Biochem. Biophys., 97, 509 (1962).

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    Grob, E. C., Kirschner, K., and Lynen, F., Chimia, Switz., 15, 308 (1961).

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    Grob, E. C., and Boschetti, A., Chimia, Switz., 16, 15 (1962).

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    Zechmeister, L., and Koe, B. K., J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 76, 2973 (1954).

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  1. Department of Agricultural Biochemistry, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth

    • T. W. GOODWIN
    •  & D. M. THOMAS


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