Isoprenoids or terpenoids are subclass of the prenyllipids (terpenes, prenylquinones, and sterols), represent the oldest group of small molecular products synthesized by plants and are probably the most widespread group of natural products.
Terpenoids can be described as modified terpenes, where methyl groups are moved or removed, or oxygen atoms added. Inversely, some authors use the term "terpenes" more broadly, to include the terpenoids. Compounds formally derived from isoprene (2-methylbuta-1,3-diene), the skeleton of which can generally be discerned in repeated occurrence in the molecule. The skeleton of isoprenoids may differ from strict additively of isoprene units by loss or shift of a fragment, commonly a methyl group. Plant terpenoids are used extensively for their aromatic qualities. They play a role in traditional herbal remedies and are under investigation for antibacterial, antineoplastic, and other pharmaceutical functions. Terpenoids contribute to the scent of eucalyptus, the flavors of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, the yellow color in sunflowers, and the red color in tomatoes. Well-known terpenoids include citral, menthol, camphor, salvinorin A in the plant Salvia divinorum, the cannabinoids found in cannabis, ginkgolide and bilobalide found in Ginkgo biloba, and thecurcuminoids found in turmeric and mustard seed.
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Last date updated on September, 2014