What is the Terpene Limonene
Limonene is a colorless liquid chemical component commonly found in the outer skins of citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and also in cannabis. It is that component which brings cheek-squinching reaction upon tasting citrus fruits. Limonene is a flavoring agent, solvent, insecticide, wetting agent, and also used in the making of medicines.
Limonene - 1-methyl-4-prop-1-en-2-ylcyclohexene’s molecular formula is C10H16.
Unlike other chiral compounds, which are occurring as single optical isomer, Limonene has its both enantiomers found in nature. They are (-)-Limonene and (+)-Limonene. Both enantiomers have identical chemical properties but different flavors of smell. (+)-Limonene is the isomer that is found in oranges and has its smell. (-)-limonene smells like turpentine and lemon.
First, the isomerization of 3-Methyl-3-butenyl pyrophosphate happens with the help of an enzyme. This results in the formation of 3-methyl-2-butenyl pyrophosphate. This leads to an equilibrium state in which there are both isomers. Now, with another enzyme, geranyl pyrophosphate is formed by combining those two isomers. Finally, this compound is crystallized to obtain limonene.
As Limonene fragrances air with its lemon-y smell, it is widely used in perfumes and also as fragrance giver in cosmetic products. In cleaning, Limonene is used as a solvent in airplane glue, and fused filament fabrication-based 3D printing, to take off the oil from the machine. It is a good alternative to turpentine. It is also used in paints. Air fresheners with air propellants come with limonene in order to remove stamps from the envelope.
Limonene can also be used as a biofuel. It is a befitting substitute for xylene for clearing dehydrated specimens. It is also used as a food additive. Limonene is very helpful in reducing weight and fat in our body. It is effectively used in the medicinal field like in relieving heartburn, gallstones, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. D-limonene, one form of limonene helps in reducing the intensity of the cancerous tumors by the mouth intake of limonene for 21 days. It is an effective agent to reduce one’s depression and anxiety. Limonene and cannabis can do wonders in swiping out depression.
It is supposed to be used within 340-degree Fahrenheit and not more than that. Doing so will make it useless as all its essential ingredients will be vaporized.
Limonene can be produced by steam distillation of citrus peels and pulp or from deterpenation of citrus oils. It can also be obtained from mandarin peel oil (Citrus reticulata Blanco, Rutaceae).
If high amounts of limonene are taken, it will result in eye and skin irritation, diarrhea, upset stomach, increased protein in the urine, and sometimes allergies too. One must be careful while combining limonene in medications. When it is combined with Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates or Cytochrome P450 2C19, the desired effects cannot be seen as break down of medications (slower or greater rate) by liver changes due to the presence of limonene. There might be alterations from the expected results due to this. So, one must be very careful about doing this.