About Lycophyll

Lycophyll, C40H56O2, is also known as all-trans-lycopene-16,16'-diol or Psi,Psi-Carotene-16,16'-diol. It is a carotenoid pigment isolated from the tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum) and members of the nightshade family (especially Solanum dulcamara L.). It has a molecular weight of 568.85 g/mol and is 84.45% carbon, 9.92% hydrogen, and 5.63% oxygen. This image of Lycophyll is a space filling model generated by Jeff Adamus using HyperChem (TM).

According to the Merck Index (p. 884, Merck and Co. Inc., Rahway, N.J., 1989), it has a melting point of 179 degrees Celsius (76 degrees for the dipalmitate derivative), and is isolated as purple leaflets from benzene and methanol, or needles from benzene and petroleum ether. It has absorption maxima (in benzene) of 521, 487, and 456 nanometers. It is freely soluble in carbon disulfide, less soluble in benzene and ethanol, and only very slightly soluble in petroleum ether.

For still more information on Lycophyll, the interested reader is referred to the following:

Structure: Cholnoky, Szabolcs, Tetrahedron Letters 1968, 1931.
Stereochemistry: Kelly et al., Acta. Chem. Scand. 25, 1607, (1971).
Synthesis: Kjosen, Liaaenjensen, Acta Chem. Scand. 25, 1500, (1971).

Why Lycophyll?

Lycophyll is a natural product. This reminds us that everything around us is chemical in nature; that the vast majority of chemicals synthesized yearly are organic in nature; and that many are synthesized by natural systems, not synthetically. We also tip our hats with this natural product to our downstairs neighbors in the Biology Department.

Another factor leading to our choice of Lycophyll is that it is a symmetric molecule, and so pleasing to the eyes and intellect, (as well as one that is rather easy to represent on a flat page or computer screen).

Finally, Lycophyll contains the roots "Lyco" (like Lycoming College) and "phyll". We could spuriously suggest this means "love", hence "love of Lycoming". Actually "phil" does mean "love", but "phyll" really means "leaf", so this WWW Page represents a new leaf for Lyco chemistry.

Thanks for your curiosity!

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Last updated January 12, 2002.
The URL for this page is http://www.lycoming.edu/chem/lycophyl.htm