A newly discovered diterpene quesnoin with a novel ring structure, bridged by a single oxygen atom, has been isolated from 55 million-year-old amber from the Eocene geological period by Akino Jossang and colleagues at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.
According to a report in Chemistry World, Jossang said that, “It is very difficult to isolate pure known compounds in amber, so to discover a new structure was unexpected and exceptional.” The biosynthesis is intriguing but whether or not the quesnoin has any potential applications is a different matter.
The compound is related to one from a tree found today only in the Amazon rainforest adding to the weight of evidence that Paris was once a tropical region. Anyone who has spent an August there will know how that might have been.
Spinneret host Tony Williams tells me that he used the new ChemSpider manual deposition scheme to add this new compound to the database. “We are about to rollout the ability for anyone to deposit structures on ChemSpider. This one took me 5 mins…about 3.5 of that drawing the structure!” The entry description includes the DOI of the original paper and links directly to it.