Putrescine is an organic compound with the formula NH2(CH2)4NH2. A colorless liquid, it is related to cadaverine; both are produced by the breakdown of amino acids. The two compounds are largely responsible for the foul odor of putrefying flesh, but also contribute to the odor of such processes as bad breath and bacterial vaginosis. They are also found in semen and some microalgae, together with related molecules like spermine and spermidine.
The polyamines, of which putrescine is one of the simplest, appear to be factors necessary for proper eukaryotic cell division.
Biotechnological production of putrescine from renewable feedstock has been investigated. A metabolically engineered strain of Escherichia coli that produces putrescine at high titer in glucose mineral salts medium has been described.
Biosynthesis of spermidine and spermine from putrescine. Ado = 5'-adenosyl.
^Ludwig Brieger, "Weitere Untersuchungen über Ptomaine" [Further investigations into ptomaines] (Berlin, Germany: August Hirschwald, 1885), page 43. From page 43: Ich nenne dasselbe Putrescin, von putresco, faul werden, vermodern, verwesen. (I call this [compound] "putrescine", from [the Latin word] putresco, to become rotten, decay, rot.)
^Ludwig Brieger, "Weitere Untersuchungen über Ptomaine" [Further investigations into ptomaines] (Berlin, Germany: August Hirschwald, 1885), page 39.
^"Nitriles". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry (7th ed.). Retrieved 2007-09-10.
^Srivenugopal KS, Adiga PR (September 1981). "Enzymic conversion of agmatine to putrescine in Lathyrus sativus seedlings. Purification and properties of a multifunctional enzyme (putrescine synthase)". J. Biol. Chem. 256 (18): 9532–41. PMID6895223.