A scientific approach to recreate metabolic evolution in plants

Plants have evolved to produce a variety of compounds that vary from species to species. These compounds play a key role for the survival strategies of plants. Compounds that are bitter and poisonous protect the plants from ...

Next-generation medication: Where chemistry meets computation

A group of Japanese researchers mainly from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) and Hokkaido University drastically enhanced and sped up the way to producing skeletally diverse indole alkaloids, composed ...

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Alkaloid

Alkaloids are naturally occurring chemical compounds containing basic nitrogen atoms. The name derives from the word alkaline and was used to describe any nitrogen-containing base. Alkaloids are produced by a large variety of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals and are part of the group of natural products (also called secondary metabolites). Many alkaloids can be purified from crude extracts by acid-base extraction. Many alkaloids are toxic to other organisms. They often have pharmacological effects and are used as medications, as recreational drugs, or in entheogenic rituals. Examples are the local anesthetic and stimulant cocaine, the stimulant caffeine, nicotine, the analgesic morphine, or the antimalarial drug quinine. Some alkaloids have a bitter taste.

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