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Skeletal formula
Ball-and-stick model
IUPAC name
Other names
3D model (Jmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.006.908
EC Number 207-597-9
Molar mass 234.33552
Melting point 98.5 °C (209.3 °F; 371.6 K)
Boiling point 390 °C (734 °F; 663 K)
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

Retene, methyl isopropyl phenanthrene or 1-methyl-7-isopropyl phenanthrene, C18H18, is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon present in the coal tar fraction, boiling above 360 °C. It occurs naturally in the tars obtained by the distillation of resinous woods. It crystallizes in large plates, which melt at 98.5 °C and boil at 390 °C. It is readily soluble in warm ether and in hot glacial acetic acid. Sodium and boiling amyl alcohol reduce it to a tetrahydroretene, whilst if it be heated with phosphorus and hydriodic acid to 260 °C, a dodecahydride is formed. Chromic acid oxidizes it to retene quinone, phthalic acid and acetic acid. It forms a picrate which melts at 123-124 °C.

Retene is derived by degradation of specific diterpenoids biologically produced by conifer trees.

The presence of traces of retene in the air is an indicator of forest fires; it is a major product of pyrolysis of conifer trees.[1][not in citation given (See discussion.)] It is also present in effluents from wood pulp and paper mills.[2]

Retene, together with cadalene, simonellite and ip-iHMN, is a biomarker of higher plants, which makes it useful for paleobotanic analysis of rock sediments. Ratio of retene/cadalene in sediments can reveal the ratio of the genus Pinaceae in the biosphere.[3]


  1. ^ Simonich, Staci. "Community Outreach and Education Program Presents Unsolved Mysteries of Human Health: How Scientists Study Toxic Chemicals". Oregon State University. Archived from the original on 16 Mar 2008. The presence of the chemical retene (REE-teen) in the air is a good indication of burning vegetation. 
  2. ^ J. Koistinen, M. Lehtonena, K. Tukia, M. Soimasuo, M. Lahtiperab and A. Oikari (1998). "IDENTIFICATION OF LIPOPHILIC POLLUTANTS DISCHARGED FROM A FINNISH PULP AND PAPER MILL". Chemosphere. 37 (2): 219–235. doi:10.1016/S0045-6535(98)00041-1. PMID 9650265. 
  3. ^ Y. Hautevelle, R. Michels, F. Malartre and A. Trouiller (2005). "Vascular plant biomarkers as ancient vegetation proxies and their stratigraphic use for tracing paleoclimatic changes during Jurassic in Western Europe" (abstract). Geophysical Research Abstracts. 7: 10201. 

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.