Molecules from the Crypt

Putrescine and Cadaverine

October 31, 2011

Putrescine (butane-1,4-diamine) and cadaverine (pentane-1,5-diamine) are foul-smelling compounds produced when amino acids decompose in decaying animals. They are also found in small amounts in living cells. Putrescine is formed by the decarboxylation of ornithine and arginine; cadaverine by the decarboxylation of lysine. L. Briege and O. Bocklisch isolated both compounds in 1885 and A. Ladenburg prepared them soon afterward.

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