The enzymes which act upon glucosides are many; the best known are emul sin and myrosin, which split up respectively amygdalin, the special glucoside of certain plants of the Rosaceae; and sinfgrin, which has a wide distribution among those of the Cruciferae.
A continuation of their work on bitter almond oil by Liebig and Wohler, who remained firm friends for the rest of their lives, resulted in the elucidation of the mode of formation of that substance and in the discovery of the ferment emulsin as well as the recognition of the first glucoside, amygdalin, while another and not less important and far-reaching inquiry in 'which they collaborated was that on uric acid, published in 1837.
It occurs naturally in the form of the glucoside amygdalin (C20H27N011), which is present in bitter almonds, cherries, peaches and the leaves of the cherry laurel; and is obtained from this substance by hydrolysis with dilute acids: C20H27N011+2H20 =HCN+2C6H,206+C6H5CHO.
- This includes compounds of cyanogen such as hydrocyanic (prussic) acid, cyanides of potassium, sodium, &c., cherry-laurel water, amygdalin, bitter almonds and other chemical and vegetable substances which readily yield hydrocyanic acid.
It occurs free in bitter almonds, being formed by an enzyme decomposition of amygdalin.