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Cadaverine is a very intersting and useful chemical. It is C5H13N2 and looks like this: H2N/\/\/NH2. It is closely related to putrescine, spermine, and spermidine. It is called cadaverine because is comes from human corpses and is one of the chemicals that causes that awful odor. Cadaverine also contributes to the odors of urine and semen. Cadaverine is found in some plants in trace amounts as a result of stress on the plant. It is sold in some hunting supply stores as a poisonous liquid that attracts scavengers. It is also used as a tool for training search and rescue dogs.

Cadaverine is a completely unwholesome substance. Do NOT get it on anything you are going to keep, especially yourself. It DOES NOT wash off. It will be with you until your skin washes away. If you get it in someone's car (say in their heating system or injected into the rubber of their door windows) they will be forced to scrap the car. This is just one of the many uses of cadaverine! Most of cadaverine's uses, however, are to make things smell really really bad, so I won't explain any more here. I'm sure you'll be able to figure out some uses for it yourself.

C5H14N2 or cadaverine is also known as animal coniine, cadaverin, cadaverine or 1,5-pentamethylenediamine. It's a foul smelling amine derived from the amino acid lysine by decarboxylation catalysed by lysine decarboxylase. It is naturally present in decaying corpses, the roots of some plants and, strangely enough, in the flowers of the asclepiadaceae Hoodia gordonii which of course smell like garbage. More boring information follows:

Density: 0.87 
Melting point: 9 °C 
Boiling point: 178-180 °C 
Molecular weight: 102.18 g/mol
Appearance: colorless, syrupy liquid
Soluble in water, alcohol; slightly soluble in ether

NH2 --/      \-- NH2

Of course, the most interesting part is the synthesis of cadaverine. Well, unless you order it or its precursors directly from a chemistry lab, you won't be going very far. You can produce cadaverine (as well as putrescine, spermidine and histamine) by letting fish such as tuna or swordfish decay. Something more elegant would consist in soaking the flowers of Hoodia gordonii in alcohol.

Ca*dav"er*ine (?), n. Also - in . [From Cadaver.] (Chem.)

A sirupy, nontoxic ptomaine, C5H14N2 (chemically pentamethylene diamine), formed in putrefaction of flesh, etc.


© Webster 1913.

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