Terpenes

Terpenes, Insecticide, and a LaCroix Lawsuit

By Scott Krepich, Food and Environmental Application Scientist

Terpenes are a diverse class of organic compounds that can be found in many plants and often with a strong odor.  There’s been over 3,000 terpenes identified, and their diverse organoleptic properties have been used in products such as fragrances, essential oils, and beverages. Beverage companies that use craft brew formulations where diverse terpenes are found in hops contribute to unique and custom flavors.

One of the many plants that terpenes can be found in are cannabis flowers, where over a hundred different organic compounds have been identified in the plant. Combined with the various cannabinoids themselves, the diverse terpene profiles in the different strains may contribute to some therapeutic properties by the “entourage” effect. The entourage effect is a mechanism where compounds present in cannabis that are largely non-psychoactive by themselves, modulate the overall psychoactive effects of the plant.

This year, there was an interesting lawsuit brought against the popular sparkling water brand, LaCroix, for allegedly including components of insecticides. Among these components were terpenes, limonene, and linalool, which can be found in citrus peels and would contribute to floral aromas.

Law firm Beaumont Costales filed the suit on behalf of a customer, and claims testing revealed synthetic ingredients. LaCroix denies the allegations.

“LaCroix in fact contains ingredients that have been identified by the Food and Drug Administration as synthetic,” the lawsuit obtained by CBS states. “These chemicals include limonene, which can cause kidney toxicity and tumors; linalool propionate, which is used to treat cancer; and linalool, which is used in cockroach insecticide.”

Without commenting on the lawsuit, I would say that plants have evolved into exceptionally sophisticated chemicals, that can be used to repel pests, which is perhaps one of the reasons why several different plant components are studied for natural pest repellents. It could also be why your grandmother’s advice to rub lemon peels on your skin to avoid mosquito bites might have been sound!

Interested in learning more about terpenes? Check out the following technical applications below:

Cold-Pressed Orange Oil GC-MS on ZB-WAX

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7 Primary Terpenes in Cannabis by LC-MS/MS

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Analysis of 33 Primary and Secondary Terpenes Found in Cannabis by GC-FID

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