Molecules of the Week

Spermine and Spermidine

February 13, 2012

The tetraamine spermine is biosynthesized from the triamine spermidine, which is produced from the diamine putrescine. Anton van Leeuwenhoek, the microscopy pioneer, described spermine crystals in human semen in 1678, and spermidine was also first detected in sperm. Despite their names, both polyamines are ubiquitous in organisms and have several biological functions.

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Molecules in the News

  • How Old Is That Silk Artifact? (Smithsonian, Feb. 2012)
    A chemist from the Textile Museum is perfecting a new technique for understanding the past.
    (This research was also featured in a recent edition of the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry: Anal. Chem., 2011, 83 (19), 7577–7581.)