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Terpenoids are a group of natural substances or related compounds that are structurally derived from isoprene . They differ from similar terpenes in that they contain functional groups , while terpenes are pure hydrocarbons . Similar to the terpenes, the terpenoids can also be divided into groups according to the number of isoprene units. However, the terms terpene and terpenoid are seldom clearly separated in common parlance and very often used synonymously with one another. The terpenoids include the steroids , the hopanoids and the carotenoids .

In the case of terpenoids, one or more carbon atoms are often removed or regrouped during biosynthesis , so that the relationship with isoprene is not so clear and there is also not necessarily an integral multiple of the five carbon atoms of isoprene. However, all terpenoids are biosynthetically derived from the terpenes. Terpenoids form important characteristics for the determination of plants , since a certain constituent pattern is characteristic of a certain plant ( chemotaxonomy ). There are more than 30,000 known terpenoids including the terpenes. Around 8000 of them are pure hydrocarbons and are therefore counted among the terpenes in the narrower sense.


A sub-class of terpenoids are the iridoids . They were first found in a species of ants ( iridomyrmex ).


They consist of a basic structure called the iridodial . Typically, iridoids consist of ten carbon atoms, i.e. two isoprene subunits, and thus belong to the terpenes. However, there are iridoids with eight and nine carbon atoms, which are formed by the release of carbon molecules from the basic structure; they belong to the large group of terpenoids.


Prenylquinones are terpenoids with up to ten isoprene units, including vitamins K 1 and K 2 , vitamin E , plastoquinone and ubiquinones .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Entry on Terpenoids . In: IUPAC Compendium of Chemical Terminology (the “Gold Book”) . doi : 10.1351 / goldbook.T06279 Version: 2.3.3.
  2. a b Eberhard Breitmeier: Terpenes: flavors, fragrances, pharmaceuticals, pheromones. BG Teubner, Stuttgart, 1999, ISBN 3-519-03548-0 .
  3. ^ Zdzislaw ZE Sikorski: Chemical and Functional Properties of Food Lipids. CRC Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-420-03199-7 , p. 41.
  4. Peter Nuhn : Naturstoffchemie. Microbial, vegetable and animal natural substances. 2nd edition, S. Hirzel Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft Stuttgart, 1990, ISBN 3-7776-0473-9 .
  5. Katharina Munk: Basic studies in biology: botany . Spectrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg 2001, ISBN 3827409098 .