Butenolides are a class of lactones with a four-carbon heterocyclic ring structure. They are sometimes considered oxidized derivatives of furan. The simplest butenolide is 2-furanone, which is a common component of larger natural products and is sometimes referred to as simply "butenolide". A common biochemically important butenolide is ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Butenolide derivatives are produced by some plants on exposure to high temperatures due to brush fires. In particular, 3-methyl-2H-furo[2,3-c]pyran-2-one was found too trigger seed germination in plants whose reproduction is fire-dependent.


  • Joule JA, Mills K. (2000). Heterocyclic Chemistry 4th ed. Blackwell Science Publishing: Oxford, UK.

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