The author identifies three individuals who played major roles in the development of his scientific career: his chemistry professor at the University of Colorado, Reuben Gustavson; his Ph.D. supervisor at the University of Chicago, Birgit Vennesland; and his friend and departmental colleague of 55 years at the University of California, Paul Stumpf. He also mentions students, postdoctoral scholars, and professional colleagues he encountered during his career of nearly 50 years as a plant biochemist. Finally, the article describes the author's research on cyanogenic plants. These plants contain hydrogen cyanide in a bound form that is usually released when the plant tissue is macerated. Cyanogenic plants contain cyanogenic glycosides in which the hydroxyl groups of cyanohydrins (α-hydroxynitriles) of aldehydes or ketones are covalently linked to a sugar, usually D-glucose. The biosynthesis, localization, and degradation, by hydrolysis, of these compounds have been examined, especially in sorghum and flax seedlings.


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