Title: Ambergris
CAS Registry Number: 8038-65-1
Literature References: Concretion from intestinal tract of the sperm whale, Physeter catodon L., Physeteridae. Found in tropical seas or seashores. Perfumers have used ambergris for centuries for its desirable odoriferous and fixative properties. Three major components isolated are the triterpene alcohol ambrein, epicoprostanol and coprostanone: Ruzicka, Lardon, Helv. Chim. Acta 29, 912 (1946); Lederer et al., ibid., 1354; Hardwick, Laws, Analyst 76, 662 (1951). Ambergris falls under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and is illegal to import in the U.S.A. Analytical method for the detection and identification of ambergris: T. F. Governo et al., J. Assoc. Off. Anal. Chem. 60, 160 (1977). Hypothesis on the biological origin of ambergris: P. A. Dubois, Parfums Cosmet. Aromes 19, 35 (1978).
Properties: Gray to black, waxy mass; characteristic odor. d 0.8-0.92. mp ~60°. Flammable; almost completely volatile by heat. Insoluble in water or in alkali hydroxides. Sol in hot alcohol, chloroform, ether, fats, volatile oils.
Melting point: mp ~60°
Density: d 0.8-0.92
Use: Chiefly in perfumery as tincture and essence for fixing delicate odors.

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