β-ODAP

February 24, 2014
Image of β-ODAP 3D Image of β-ODAP

β-ODAP stands for L-β-N-oxalyl-α,β-diaminopropionic acid. Also called L-β-oxalylaminoanaline, it is an analogue of the neurotransmitter glutamic acid.

β-ODAP is a neurotoxin that causes lathyrism, a disease in which neurons in the lumbar spine deteriorate, paralyzing the legs of humans and other mammals. The name lathyrism comes from the grass pea Lathyrus sativus and other plants of the Lathyrus genus that contain β-ODAP.

β-ODAP is purported to have poisoned Christopher J. McCandless, the subject of the book and film Into the Wild. The controversy revolves around whether β-ODAP is present in the seeds of the Alaskan wild potato Hedysarum alpinum that McCandless may have eaten. Thus far, analytical studies, chiefly by high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry methods, have been inconclusive. Stay tuned!

 

 

Chemical Abstract Service - a division of ACS

Learn more about this molecule from CAS, the most authoritative and comprehensive source for chemical information.

Molecule of the Week needs your suggestions!

If your favorite molecule is not in our archive, please send an email to motw@acs.org. The molecule can be notable for its current or historical importance or for any quirky reason. Thank you!

Stay Ahead of the Chemistry Curve

Learn how ACS can help you stay ahead in the world of chemistry.