Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 19, Issue 7, pp 1491–1500 | Cite as

Phenolic compounds from male castoreum of the North American beaver,Castor canadensis

  • Rong Tang
  • Francis X. Webster
  • Dietland Müller-Schwarze


North American beaver (Castor canadensis) mark their territories with castoreum, the contents of their castor sacs. In their territories, beaver respond with scent marking to experimental scent marks consisting of castoreum, or selected single components. In part, the unique odor of castoreum is due to large amounts of phenolic compounds. Purified phenolic components were analyzed by GC, GC-MS, and NMR; identifications were confirmed by comparing the spectra of synthetic phenols with those of the isolated phenols. Of the 15 phenols reported elsewhere, only five were confirmed in our analysis; the other 10 phenolic compounds are either absent or are not volatile enough to be detected by our methods. In addition, 10 phenolic compounds have been identified in this study that were not reported in the previous papers concerning the constitution of castoreum.

Key Words

Castor canadensis beaver castor sac phenolic compounds coinjection fractionation synthesis identification territory marking 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rong Tang
    • 1
  • Francis X. Webster
    • 1
  • Dietland Müller-Schwarze
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryState University of New York College of Environmental Science and ForestrySyracuse
  2. 2.Department of BiologyState University of New York College of Environmental Science and ForestrySyracuse

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