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Triterpenes are terpenes consisting of six isoprene units and have the molecular formula C30H48. The pentacyclic triterpenes can be classified into lupane, oleanane or ursane groups.[1] A notable pentacyclic triterpene is Boswellic acid.

Animals, plants, and fungi, create triterpenes including squalene, ambrein, and ganoderic acid.

Triterpenoids are thought of as modified triterpenes, such as lanosterol.[citation needed]

The prefix 'triter-' in triterpene/triterpenoid refers to the use of the third harmonic component (355 nm) in desorption and ionization of the sample on an ion cyclotron mass-spectrometer.[2]


  1. ^ Laszczyk, Melanie (2009). "Pentacyclic Triterpenes of the Lupane, Oleanane and Ursane Group as Tools in Cancer Therapy". Planta Medica 75 (15): 1549–60. doi:10.1055/s-0029-1186102. PMID 19742422. 
  2. ^ D. N. Vedernikov, V. I. Roshchin. (2012). "Extractive compounds of betulaceae family birch buds (Betula pendula Roth.): V. Composition of triterpene seco-acids". Russian Journal of Bioorganic Chemistry 38 (7):762-768. Retrieved 18 April 2015.

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