Molecule of the Day: Linalool
Linalool (C10H18O) is a naturally occurring terpene alcohol found in many spice, herb, and flowering plants. It has a floral, balsamic, and slightly spicy smell, and is a contributor to the characteristic scents of numerous essential oils, such as that of lavender.
Linalool has been shown to have anti-cancer properties (such as leukemia), and the ability to enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic drugs by reversing resistance to it.
In nature, linalool is produced from farnesyl diphosphate, but can be synthesised in labs via many different routes, such as from isoprene (1) or the thermal cracking of alpha-pinene (2):
Linalool is cheaply produced from many natural sources due to its relative abundance, and its warm scent is often utilised in personal hygiene products such as soaps and lotions. Furthermore, it has insecticidal properties, and is used as a fumigant.