The biosynthesis of the cyanogenic glucosides, linamarin and prunasin, was investigated in linen-flax, peach and cherry-laurel shoots. It was shown that related 2-oximino acids, aldoximes, nitriles and 2-hydroxynitriles were generally good precursors of the aglycone moiety. Studies with double-labelled compounds confirmed the retention of the oximino nitrogen atom from 2-oximinoisovaleric acid and isobutyraldoxime in the biosynthesis of linamarin. A general pathway from amino acids to cyanogenic glucosides involving N-hydroxyamino acids, aldoximes, nitriles and 2-hydroxynitriles is proposed.

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