Hipposudoric Acid

One of the two molecules responsible for the "blood sweat" of Hippopotami, Hipposudoric acid is a red fluid and when mixed with Norhipposudoric acid (orange) produces the characteristic bloody sweat of Hippos [1]. If nobody ever told you, Hippos are large [Citation needed] and relatively mean [2], so it's difficult to study them up close. As such, we needed to come up with a way of synthesizing the molecules to study their antimicrobial and ultra violet absorption properties. Luckily for the world of hippo enthusiasts, a group of Japanese chemists in Kyoto managed to synthesize these fused ring systems [3] for Norhipposudoric and Hipposudoric acid.


The topic of the paper is a showcase and application of the Pschorr synthesis, which takes an almost aromatic fused ring system and effectively fusing it using a Cu(0) or Cu(I) catalyst [4]. Nifty synthesis for niche chemists and happens to be very useful in the synthesis of two very difficult to "naturally" acquire molecules. Also, the mixed colours absorb ultraviolet light as well as all visible light (except red, that's why we see red) which makes it an interesting molecule to study for "natural" sunscreens.


A brief demonstration of the Hipposudoric and Norhipposudoric acid secretion (the hippo was dead when they found it, just so nobody freaks out)

1. Hipposudoric Acid
2. Hippos!
3. Yoko Saikawa, Kai Moriya, Kimiko Hashimoto, Masaya Nakata, Synthesis of hipposudoric and norhipposudoric acids: the pigments responsible for the color reaction of the red sweat of Hippopotamus amphibius, Tetrahedron Letters, Volume 47, Issue 15, 10 April 2006, Pages 2535-2538, ISSN 0040-4039, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tetlet.2006.02.042.
4. Pschorr synthesis
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