The main difference between terpenes and terpenoids is that terpenes are hydrocarbons that are composed of multiple isoprene units, whereas terpenoids are modified terpenes.
Terpenes and terpenoids are organic compounds. They are mostly found in plants, especially in essential oils.
Key Areas Covered
1. What are Terpenes
– Definition, Structure, Uses
2. What are Terpenoids
– Definition, Function
3. Similarities – Terpenes and Terpenoids
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Terpenes and Terpenoids
– Comparison of Key Differences
What are Terpenes
Terpenes are derived from the precursor isoprene, which is a five-carbon building block. Isoprene units combine to form various terpenes, each with its unique structure and characteristics, through a process known as biosynthesis. Plants are the primary producers of terpenes. They use these compounds to repel predators, provide defense against pathogens and attract pollinators. However, terpenes are present in some animals, fungi, and bacteria.
There are many types of terpenes. One such terpene is limonene, which is lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits. Limonene is responsible for a refreshing scent and possesses antibacterial properties, antifungal and anticancer properties. Another example of terpene is pinene. It is present in coniferous trees like pine and spruce. Pinene has a distinct pine fragrance and has been associated with potential anti-inflammatory and bronchodilatory effects. Myrcene in plants like mangoes and bay leaves contributes to their characteristic herbal scent. Myrcene has sedative and muscle relaxant properties. Another example is linalool which is in lavender and coriander, which has a floral aroma and has been associated with potential anxiolytic and analgesic effects.
Different terpenes are associated with specific properties such as relaxation, stress relief, and mood enhancement. Terpenes are used in the pharmaceutical industry as well. Properties of terpenes such as antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory, and anticancer activities are useful in drug development.
Uses of Terpenes
Terpenes are used in many industries. It is used in the flavor and fragrance industry to a greater extent. They provide a wide range of natural flavors and scents. Terpenes like limonene and menthol help to enhance food and beverage products and personal care items, including lotions, soaps, and perfumes.
Terpenes are also used in the cannabis industry. Due to its solvent properties, terpenes are used as natural solvents in cleaning products, paints, and varnishes.
What are Terpenoids
Terpenoids are compounds that are derived from terpenes. They are also called isoprenoids. Terpenoids undergo chemical modifications such as oxidation, rearrangement, or the addition of functional groups. They are found in many plant species, including herbs, species, trees, and medicinal plants. Examples of terpenoids include menthol found in mint plants, taxol, and artemisinin.
Uses of Terpenoids
Terpenoids are used for many purposes in the industry. It is mainly used in the pharmaceutical industry. Many terpenoids have effects like antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antioxidant effects. Terpenoids are also studied for their potential in drug delivery systems, improving the solubility and bioavailability of pharmaceutical compounds.
Terpenoids are also useful in the flavor and fragrance industry. Moreover, terpenoids like limonene and geraniol help in the production of fragrances. They are responsible for the captivating aromas found in flowers, fruits, and herbs. These compounds also act as natural flavoring agents in food and beverage products.
They are also useful in aromatherapy. Different terpenoids have different properties that can influence mood, relaxation, and overall well-being. They are also useful in cosmetic and personal care products and present in items like soap, shampoos, lotions, and creams. Some terpenoids have effects on the skin, such as anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Terpenes are useful in insecticides and pest control due to their insecticidal and repellent properties. Some terpenoids also act as natural insecticides.
Due to their solvent properties, terpenoids are useful as natural solvents in cleaning products, paints, and varnishes too. Terpenoids also act as natural flavoring agents in the food and beverage industry.
Similarities Difference Between Terpenes and Terpenoids
- Terpenes and terpenoids are organic compounds.
- Moreover, both compounds are present in plants.
Difference Between Terpenes and Terpenoids
Terpenes are hydrocarbons that are composed of multiple isoprene units, whereas terpenoids are modified terpenes.
Terpenes have a more complex chemical structure than terpenes.
Examples of terpenes are limonene and myrcene, whereas examples of terpenoids are artemisinin, taxol, and menthol.
In brief, terpenes and terpenoids are two organic compounds. They are mostly present in plants, especially in essential oils. The main difference between terpenes and terpenoids is that terpenes are hydrocarbons that have multiple isoprene units, whereas terpenoids are modified terpenes.
1. “Terpene – Chemical Compound.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
2. “Terpenoid – Overview.” Science Direct.
1. “Limonen” (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Terpineols” By V8rik at the English-language Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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