A tobacco-like odorous compound isolated from a bloom of the blue-green alga Microcystis wesenbergii and a laboratory culture of M . aeruginosa was analysed by gas-liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Its structure was determined as β-cyclocitral. No other monoterpenes have been detected in these and in other blue-green algae. The hydrocarbon content was 0.10 - 0.18% of the dry weight. n-Hexadecane, n-heptadecane, 4-methylheptadecane and n-octadecane constituted the main components. The relation of the different alkanes to each other, especially 4-methylheptadecane and n-octadecane, revealed marked differences in the two organisms.
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