Tobacco has been used by mankind for thousands of years, and even today many people consider the plant one of their means of connecting with spirituality. Cocaine is also derived from a plant that has been used as a stimulant and anesthetic for thousands of years. But now Scientists at the Kunming Botanical Institute in China have successfully produced cocaine from tobacco leaves.🇧🇷
Cocaine is a substance derived from the coca plant (Erythroxylum coca), but it took thousands of years of natural evolution to reach the plant we know today. It’s important for researchers to understand the chemical engineering responsible for the evolution of Erythroxylum species, and that’s why scientists have been studying the complexity of this natural process for a decade.
The process has been a tightly guarded secret by nature, however, Chinese researchers have managed to more or less map the biochemical pathway of the substance’s production.🇧🇷 In addition, they reconstructed the entire chemical chain of cocaine inside a tobacco plant – so they can analyze the whole process more easily.
cocaine and tobacco
From the study, they were able to discover two enzymes called EnCYP81AN15 and EnMT4. Thus, scientists believe that this information can positively affect the pharmaceutical industry, enabling the discovery of new compounds and new drug formulations.
In any case, the process of producing cocaine from tobacco leaves should not improve existing production methods, but should only serve to help scientists understand how this evolution happened. Cocaine is in the class known as tropane alkaloids, an organic molecule that can repel herbivores to protect the plant.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Source: Tec Mundo
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