pu·​tres·​cine pyü-ˈtre-ˌsēn How to pronounce putrescine (audio)
: a crystalline slightly poisonous ptomaine C4H12N2 that occurs in small amounts in virtually all living things

Examples of putrescine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The stinkhorns’ unmistakable scents come from volatile organic compounds with apt names like putrescine and cadaverdine. Christie Wilcox, Discover Magazine, 14 Feb. 2016 Brown University neuroscientist Carlos Aizenman discovered that putrescine granted seizure-prone tadpoles 25% more seizure resistance for up to four hours after their initial seizure. Patrick Morgan, Discover Magazine, 14 Mar. 2011 Chemistry professor Timothy Swager and colleagues ran a minute electrical current through tiny cylinders of carbon atoms called nanotubes to detect compounds that rotting meat exudes — chemicals with evocative names like putrescine and cadaverine. Katherine Kornei, Discover Magazine, 20 Jan. 2016 Not solely the sign of a rotting carcass, cadaverine and putrescine also show up in urine and bad breath. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 13 Nov. 2013 The presence of salt slows this fermentation process, promoting lactic acid bacteria that defeat pathogens and such foul-smelling toxins as cadaverine and putrescine. Taras Grescoe, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Oct. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'putrescine.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary, from Latin putrescere

First Known Use

1887, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of putrescine was in 1887

Dictionary Entries Near putrescine

Cite this Entry

“Putrescine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/putrescine. Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


pu·​tres·​cine -ˈtres-ˌēn How to pronounce putrescine (audio)
: a crystalline slightly poisonous ptomaine C4H12N2 that is formed by decarboxylation of ornithine, occurs widely but in small amounts in living things, and is found especially in putrid flesh

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