Alpha pinene (α-pinene), also known as ex-turpentine, is a bicyclic terpene hydrocarbon. It belongs to the terpene class and is one of two isomers of pinene. They appear to be clear and colorless with a characteristic odor of pine. Alpha pinene is the most widely existing terpenoid in nature with the lowest boiling point, most diffusive odor, and has the poorest tenacity among the monoterpenes. They are used as the starting material for the synthesis of terpene resins, lubricants, campaign, etc. coupled with their medicinal usage.
Alpha pinene is typically obtained by the distillation of turpentine oils which contains 58-65% alpha-pinene along with 30% of beta-pinene.
Both isomers of pinene (alpha and beta) are made from the same starting materials. Firstly, geranyl pyrophosphate is converted to linaloyl pyrophosphate. After this, linaloyl pyrophosphate undergoes a cyclization event to form a six-membered ring. This intermediate reacts rapidly with itself to form an intramolecular four-membered ring. Upon forming both rings, there will be a loss of a hydrogen ion and depending on the location of the hydrogen ion, it can either give us beta or alpha pinene.
Alpha pinene is used as the starting material for the synthesis of terpene resin, synthetic plastics, synthetic lubricant, and aromatic chemicals such as camphene, etc. These derivatives obtained are used for the preparation of fragrances, food additive for flavoring, lubricants, adhesives, etc.
They are strong disinfectants, sanitizers, and deodorizers. Their fresh pine fragrance kills odor-producing fungi and bacteria and neutralizes unpleasant odor. Alpha pinene disinfectant is ideal to refresh washrooms areas, toilets, rubbish bins, sports equipment as they contain a synergistic blend of biocides.
It is used as food additives and acts as a flavoring agent. Alpha pinene gives a pine-like taste and odor. It is used to the daily flavor of bergamot, bay leaves, and other edible flavors. Acting as a flavor ingredient for oral care, it is frequently employed in the preparation of perfumes and cosmetics.
Alpha pinenes have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and are used in the treatment of skin diseases such as eczema and other skin ailments. It is the main component of many essential oils that are used to prepare mouthwashes, cold and chest ointments, etc. Additionally, it contains an active solution that kills bacteria responsible for jaw infection and periodontitis.