Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 21, Issue 11, pp 1745–1762 | Cite as

Neutral compounds from male castoreum of North American beaver,Castor canadensis

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


North American beavers (Castor canadensis) mark their territories with castoreum, the strong-smelling paste in their castor sacs. In their own territories, beavers respond with scent marking to experimental scent marks that consist of strange castoreum (or selected components). In part, the unique odor of castoreum is due to large amounts of phenolic compounds and neutral compounds. Purified neutral compounds were analyzed by GC. GC-MS, and NMR; identities of the neutral compounds were confirmed by comparing the properties of authentic compounds with those of the isolated compounds. We identified 13 neutral compounds that had not been reported before for castoreum. Most of these are oxygen-containing monoterpenes. Of the nine neutral compounds reported by Lederer (1949), only three are confirmed in our analysis; the other six neutral compounds are either absent or are not volatile enough to be detected by our methods. Eight compounds—6-methyl-l-heptanol, 4,6-dimethyl-l-heptanol, isopinocamphone, pinocamphone, two linalool oxides, and their acetates—were synthesized for structure identification and bioassays.

Key Words

beaver Castor canadensis castoreum neutral compounds monoterpenes co-injection fractionation identification synthesis territory marking 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

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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