Isoprenoid Hydrocarbons in Recent Sediments: Presence of Pristane and Probable Absence of Phytane

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Science  17 Dec 1965:
Vol. 150, Issue 3703, pp. 1588-1589
DOI: 10.1126/science.150.3703.1588


Pristane (2,6,10,14-tetramethylpentadecane) has been isolated from two recent marine sediments. Unlike their ancient counterparts, these sediments contain no detectable phytane. These two facts suggest a biochemical origin for at least a fraction of the sedimentary pristane and a later, geochemical formation of phytane. Commercial reagent-grade solvents (pentane, isooctane, methanol) contain appreciable quantities of fossil pristane and probably phytane.