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Skeletal formula of phytane
IUPAC name
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.010.303
EC Number 211-332-2
MeSH phytane
Molar mass 282.56 g·mol−1
Appearance Colourless liquid
Odor Odourless
Density 791 mg mL−1 (at 20 °C)
Boiling point 69 to 71 °C (156 to 160 °F; 342 to 344 K) at 100 mPa
S-phrases (outdated) S24/25
Related compounds
Related alkanes
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Phytane is a type of diterpenoid alkane. In contrast to pristane, which is formed from the dehydroxylation of phytol, it has one extra carbon.

Phytanyl is the corresponding substituent. Phytanyl groups are frequently found in phospholipids in membranes of thermophilic Archaea.[2] These include caldarchaeol, a compound which contains two fused phytanyl chains.

It is used as a bio-marker in petroleum studies.[3]

Unsaturated phytanes[edit]

Phytene is the singly unsaturated version of phytane. Phytene is also found as the functional group phytyl in many organic molecules of biological importance such as chlorophyll, tocopherol (Vitamin E) and phylloquinone (Vitamin K1). Phytene's corresponding alcohol is phytol.

Geranylgeranene is the fully unsaturated form of phytane. The corresponding substituent is geranylgeranyl.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "phytane - Compound Summary". PubChem Compound. USA: National Center for Biotechnology Information. 27 March 2005. Identification and Related Records. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Edited by Ricardo Cavicchioli (2007), Archaea, Washington, DC: ASM Press, ISBN 1-55581-391-7, OCLC 172964654 
  3. ^ Hunt, J. (2002). "Early developments in petroleum geochemistry". Organic Geochemistry. 33: 1025–1052. doi:10.1016/S0146-6380(02)00056-6.