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.