The surfaces of most terrestrial organisms are coated with a complex mixture of lipophilic non-glyceride substances collectively referred to as wax. The composition of wax varies quantitatively and qualitatively depending on the source, but may include aliphatic hydrocarbons, primary and secondary alcohols, acids, ketones, aldehydes, wax esters, and others. Each class of lipid may be comprised of a homologous series of compounds with a relatively high molecular weight range. Hydrocarbons are present in wax of most organisms examined and consist mainly of n-alkanes, but may include n-alkenes, singly and doubly branched saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons, cyclic alkanes, and isoprenoid hydrocarbons. The composition and biosynthesis of hydrocarbons in higher plants has been reviewed by Eglinton and Hamilton (1967), and Kolattukudy (1968; 1970a; 1970b; 1976); in algae by Weete (1976); and in bacteria by Albro and Dittmer (1970) and Albro (1976).


Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Fatty Acid Synthetase Smut Fungus Rhizopus Arrhizus Hydrocarbon Synthesis 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • John D. Weete
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Botany, Plant Pathology, and MicrobiologyAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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