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Proteins and carbohydrates are rapidly degraded to compounds of no direct interest in the problem of the origin of petroleum. Lignin, if carried into marine basins in the form of humic substances, is probably the major progenitor of kerogen rather than the precursor of petroleum. Pigments are but minor contributors to petroleum. The fate of fatty acids in a marine environment is not completely understood. Although they may not be directly decarboxylated biochemically, it is shown how they can be converted into oxygenated or dehydrogenated acids more reactive than the parent compounds. Illustrations are also given for Diels-Alder reactions that could account for the formation from these compounds of the alicyclic and aromatic hydrocarbons in petroleum. It is most likely that crude oil is generated in sediments containing concentrations of lipids, the character of which governs the nature of the oil that is formed. ?? 1960.
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Diagenesis of metabolites and a discussion of the origin of petroleum hydrocarbons