Tryptophan is an aromatic amino acid.
Like all amino acids, it has an amino group (-NH2
- blue with 2 white balls - at one end, and a carboxylic acid group
(-COOH) - grey, connected to red, and red and white - at the other end.
Between these is the
α- (alpha) carbon
to which the 'R' group (and a single -H atom) is
In tryptophan, the 'R' group is rather bulky: a methyl group attached to two joined rings (indole); one of which is a benzene ring.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid found
naturally in many foods, and has been available in health food stores
as a dietary supplement.
However it has been implicated in health scares, possibly due to
contamination, so it is no longer available in many countries.
Click below to highlight parts of molecule