The properties of Triterpenes
Triterpenes are a class of chemical compounds composed of three terpene units; they may also be thought of as consisting of six isoprene units. Animals, plants and fungi all produce triterpenes, including squalene, the precursor to all steroids. Triterpenes are biosynthesized through the head-to-head condensation of two FPP units to form squalene. In turn, squalene serves as precursor for the formation of triterpenoids, including bacterial hopanoids and eukaryotic sterols. Squalene is itself a valuable compound since it is used as an antioxidant, as well as in cosmetics, nutrition, and vaccines.