Olefins of High Molecular Weight in Two Microscopic Algae

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Science  16 Aug 1968:
Vol. 161, Issue 3842, pp. 700-701
DOI: 10.1126/science.161.3842.700


The hydrocarbon composition of two algae, a golden-brown (Bot-ryococcus braunii) and a blue-green (Anacystis montana), has been investigated by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Both show distributions of aliphatic hydrocarbons of odd carbon numbers in the medium and high ranges of molecular weight, with maxima at n-C17 and n-C29 for B. braunii and n-C17 and n-C29 for A. montana. With the exception of the n-heptadecane of A. montana all the hydrocarbons are monoenes, dienes, or trienes. Since certain continental sediments and oils show similar distributions of alkanes with respect to carbon number, these organisms may be the precursors of the hydrocarbons in these formations.

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