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Terpenoid composition and origin of amber from the Cape York Peninsula, Australia

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The terpenoid composition of fossil resin from the Cape York Peninsula, Australia has been analysed by pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS) to determine its origin. The pyrolysis products were dominated by cadalene-based C15 bicyclic sesquiterpenoids including some C30–C31 bicadinanes and bicadinenes typical of Class II resin derived from angiosperm plants of Dipterocarpaceae. This observation contrasts with the Araucariaceae (Agathis sp.) source previously suggested for the resin based on Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analyses. Dipterocarpaceae are not known in Australian vegetation but grow abundantly in Southeast Asia including New Guinea, indicating that the geological origin of the amber is not the Australian mainland but could be traced to Southeast Asia.
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Keywords: Amber; Cape York Peninsula; bicadinanes; dipterocarpaceae; pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; terpenoids

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Duesbergweg 10–14, D-55128, Mainz, Germany 2: Petroleum and Environmental Geochemistry Research Group, Chemistry Department, University of Ibadan, Nigeria 3: Department of Geosciences, University of Mainz, Becherweg 21, 55099, Mainz, Germany 4: Hunterian-Museum, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK

Publication date: October 3, 2014

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