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It is related to cadaverine; both are produced by the breakdown of amino acids in living and dead organisms. The two compounds are largely responsible for the foul odor of putrefying flesh, but also contribute to the odor of such processes as bad breath and bacterial vaginosis. They are also found in semen and some microalgae, together with related molecules like spermine and spermidine.
Production and use
Putrescine is produced on industrial scale by hydrogenation of succinonitrile, which is produced by addition of hydrogen cyanide to acrylonitrile. Putrescine is reacted with adipic acid to yield the polyamide Nylon-4,6, which is marketed by DSM under the trade name Stanyl®.
Putrescine is synthesized in small quantities by healthy living cells by the action of ornithine decarboxylase. The polyamines, of which putrescine is one of the simplest, appear to be growth factors necessary for cell division.
Putrescine and cadaverine were first described by the Berlin physician Ludwig Brieger in 1885.
Putrescine is featured as a non-lethal weapon in the science fiction novel Zodiac, by Neal Stephenson.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Putrescine". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|