A remarkable characteristic of naturally occurring terpenes is the bewildering array of carbocyclic structures. As of 1970 more than 200 different carbon skeletons had been identified (excluding nor metabolites), the structures varying from acyclic chains to hexacyclic ring systems and containing almost all ring sizes from three to fourteen members (1). Although a considerable number of the 200 are produced by oxidative transformations (e. g., ring cleavage) of pre-existing terpenes, a majority nevertheless represent primary structures formed in nature through multistep cyclization and rearrangement sequences originating from five basic acyclic precursors.


Tetrahedron Letter Ring Contraction Hydrogen Shift Terpene Biosynthesis Hydride Shift 
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© Springer-Verlag Wien 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M. Coates
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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