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(2, 3-benzopyrrole), colorless crystals with an unpleasant odor. Melting point, 52°C; boiling point, 254°C. It is soluble in hot water and organic solvents. Indole is present in coal tar, from which it is extracted as salts of alkali metals, as well as in certain essential oils (for example, oil of jasmine). Along with skatole (3-methyl-indole), it is found in the intestines of human beings and mammals.
Many indole derivatives, for example, 3-indoleacetic acid (heteroauxin A, a growth substance), serotonin, and reserpine, are biologically active. Indole is a raw material for synthesizing heteroauxin and tryptophane, and is used in the perfumery industry to improve and strengthen the scents of flower essences.