, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 255-259

Gas-liquid chromatograms of sesquiterpenes as finger prints for soft-coral identification

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A possible additional means for aiding in the identification of soft corals based on their sesquiterpene composition, as determined by gas-liquid chromatography (GLC), is discussed. The use of this method for several species of Sinularia and Sarcophyton is illustrated. Several sesquiterpenes were identified, some of them for the first time from marine origin. Preliminary tests indicate that the sesquiterpene composition in the tested soft corals remained quite constant during different seasons of the year. It is suggested that such “finger prints” are produced by the corals themselves and not by the zooxanthellae, and that they are species-specific.

Communicated by O. Kinne, Hamburg