Sulfur: Role in Genesis of Petroleum

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Science  29 Jan 1965:
Vol. 147, Issue 3657, pp. 499-501
DOI: 10.1126/science.147.3657.499


Sulfur reacts readily with cholesterol at 150°C, and the product of the reaction contains aromatic hydrocarbons, some with a benzene, some a naphthalene, and some a phenanthrene ring system as part of the molecule. The reaction of farnesol with sulfur takes place at 135°C. Cadalene (1,6-dimethyl-4-isopropylnaphthalene) is one of the products of the reaction. These reactions at relatively low temperatures support the proposition that a thermal reaction of sulfur with terpenoids and steroids plays a part in the genesis of petroleum.