Limonene is a naturally occurring chemical compound classified as a terpene, which is commonly found in the rinds of citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruits. It is responsible for the distinctive fresh and zesty scent characteristic of citrus fruit peels. The structure of limonene is such that it can exist in two mirror-image forms, known as enantiomers: D-limonene, which is the more commonly occurring form, and L-limonene. D-limonene is often used in food manufacturing, as a flavoring agent, and in the production of fragrances due to its pleasant aroma. Beyond its use in the culinary and cosmetic industries, limonene has also garnered interest for its potential health benefits and its use as a green solvent in cleaning products. It has been studied for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and some research suggests that it may have a role in reducing stress and anxiety when inhaled as an aroma. Additionally, in the realm of industrial applications, limonene is used as a bio-based solvent, particularly in the removal of oil from machine parts, due to its ability to dissolve oils and other lipophilic substances. The broad range of applications and the interest in its therapeutic potential make limonene a subject of ongoing research in various scientific fields including chemistry, pharmacology, and environmental science.
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