β-Ionone is a clear slightly yellow to yellow liquid with a characteristic violet-like odor, more fruity and woody than α-ionone. It’s soluble in ethanol, diethyl ester and dichloromethane, slightly soluble in water. The natural beta-ionone is found in many plants, such as violets. It is prepared by condensation of citral and acetone in dilute caustic soda solution and cycling with sulfuric acid or phosphoric acid. Beta-ionone is mainly applied as an important raw material in pharmaceutical, especially for the production of vitamin A, vitamin E and carotene. Some recent researches demonstrate the anti-proliferative, anti-metastatic and apoptosis induction properties of beta-ionone in vitro and in vivo that can probably be used in cancer care or even treatment in the near future.
The ionones are a series of closely related chemical substances. They are part of rose ketones, which also include damascones and damascenones. Ionones are aroma compounds naturally found in essential oils, including rose oil.
α-ionone is prepared by the cyclization of pseudoionone. It is widely used in the fragrance of daily chemical products.
The ionones are related to irone, C14H22O which occurs in the oil obtained from the orris root.