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Molecular composition, chemotaxonomical aspects and botanical origin of Brazilian amber [Composi o molecular, aspectos quimiotaxon micos e origem botanica de ambares brasileiros]

Keywords: Amber , Terpenoids , Chemotaxonomy , Paleobotany , Conifers

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Abstract:

Amber is a plant fossil resin constituted mainly by diterpenes of several classes, such as abietanes, labdanes, pimaranes and kauranes. The botanical origin of amber is related to angiosperms and gymnosperms, depending on the geological period and where it was produced. The analysis of its chemical composition performed using gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry and carbon 13 nuclear magnetic resonance allows the determination of the possible botanical sources, allowing obtaining important information regarding the resinous flora on the geological past of the Earth. Although amber samples are studied primarily by geochemists and paleontologists in the context of paleobotany and paleozoology, the research about its molecular composition is directly related to chemotaxonomy and phytochemistry. The results obtained to Brazilian amber samples until this moment allowed the determination of three possible amber botanical sources in Cretaceous period – Araucariaceae, Podocarpaceae e Cheirolepidiaceae.

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