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Going Green

SpecialChem / May 18, 2005

Pine chemicals are renewable, naturally occurring materials derived from the pine tree (genus Pinus). The range of chemical classes obtained from pine trees includes numerous plant sterols, terpenes (or turpentine), resin acids (or rosin) and fatty acids. Pine trees originated in the Northern Hemisphere, but are now found worldwide. Significant pine resources exist in the United States, Canada, South America, Scandinavia, parts of Spain and throughout Asia. All these regions have pine chemical production capabilities, though China continues to be the world’s largest national producer of pine chemical raw materials. The earliest recorded use of pine pitch was in the 4th through 2nd centuries B.C. in Greece, Asia Minor and Egypt. Pine resins were used in the 4th century A.D. as adhesives for attaching colored stones to buildings.1 As the number of wooden ships in the European navies grew, so did the need for rosin, pine tar and pitch. These products, which were essential for waterproofing and caulking the vessels, became known collectively as naval stores, a term still used today.

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