Molecule of the Week

Isoprene

January 18, 2010

Isoprene (2-methyl-1,3-butadiene) is the monomer of natural rubber and a building block for many natural compounds. C. G. Williams first isolated it in 1860 by pyrolyzing rubber. Many methods have been developed for its commercial manufacture for the production of synthetic rubber and other polymers. About 500 megatons of isoprene is emitted into the atmosphere each year, mostly from natural sources—more than all organic compound emissions from anthropogenic sources.