Alkaloids used as strongly bioactive molecules are vital in biotechnology for the development of new production methods. It is possible to produce more effective alkaloids via biotechnology, and also possible to produce them on a very large scale.

Biotechnology can be defined generally as the application of organisms, biomaterials and systems or processes in manufacturing and production. In the case of alkaloids, biotechnology is a process of effective production of alkaloids in vitro and in vivo (Figure 95). Biotechnology can be divided into chemical and industrial biotechnology depending on the method used. Furthermore, it can be thought of in a biomedical and pharmaceutical sense when medical objectives are concerned. Lastly, genome and proteomic biotechnology uses genetic and protein engineering. Biotechnology attempts to produce cells and molecules of animals, plants and micro-organisms. Alkaloids are one group of molecules which can be produced via biotechnological means. Plants are the basis for this


Chemical and ndustrial

Biomedical and Genomics pharmaceutical Proteomics

Production of cells and molecules


Plants Microorganisms

Alkaloid production +

Alkaloid production +

Genetic and organ engineering

Figure 95. Diagram of the links between areas connected to alkaloidal applications produced by biotechnology.

type of production; however, alkaloids can also be produced in animal cells or in those of micro-organisms. Genetic or organ manipulation is needed in this production. Generally speaking, the best results in alkaloid production by biological methods are presently achieved using plant organs. However, it is also possible from micro-organisms as well as animal cells and tissues (Figure 95).

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