The Vespiary

The Hive => Novel Discourse => Topic started by: Lem2 on April 10, 2002, 07:20:00 PM

Title: Biosynthesis of Cocaine
Post by: Lem2 on April 10, 2002, 07:20:00 PM
Does anyone out there by any chance have any data on the biosynthetic pathway(s) to cocaine? I have been looking around but have found nothing as of yet.

I have been doing some reasearch recently into the incorporation of naturally occuring enzymes into organic synthesis, and SWIM is very curious about doing an extraction of the enzymes of some kind of coca plant, and seeing if SWIM can get them to produce cocaine at SWIM's leisure.

hehe, wouldn't it be fun if we could add a dash of ATP, and a splash of some amino acids, and get a little bit of cocaine! And who knows, if they can be made to produce at significant velocity, perhaps it would be a viable route to mass production! 8)

He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
Title: Cocaine biosynthetic pathway
Post by: Rhodium on April 10, 2002, 08:55:00 PM
Check out the article below for the biosynthetic pathway of cocaine as it was thought to be 10 years ago - I dunno if they have refined the theory since then.

Late intermediates in the biosynthesis of cocaine: 4-(1-methyl-2-pyrrolidinyl)-3-oxobutanoate and methyl ecgonine
Edward Leete, Jeffrey A. Bjorklund, Maria M. Couladis, Sung Hoon Kim

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 113(24), 9286-9292 (1991) (


Title: chinese
Post by: Organikum on April 10, 2002, 10:52:00 PM
I saw the abstract of an chinese patent on making ephedrine by cultivation of ephedra cells in huge tubs.
It was at espacenet, sorry can´t find it now.
Big problem may be to get hold of a coca plant, if someone has an idea on this please PM or mail me. (one from JAVA would be prefered... :) ).
Why should this not work for coca, as the metabolism is fairly well known and documented. (please don´t nail me on this, it´s my estimation only).
Anyone able and willing to translate the chinese patent?
I shure would dig for it

"I hope I'm becoming more eccentric. More room, you know.
 More room in the brain."
Title: hehe
Post by: Lem2 on April 12, 2002, 07:03:00 AM
hehe, time for a trip to the library then. The amount of info I have been able to find on the internet is very little.

The general usage of enzymes in the lab seems to be quite straight forward, just keep the PH at the right levels, and the reactants at the right levels, and things just happen. So unless the enzymes in the pathway throw me a curve ball, and if SWIM can get seeds/leaves of a coca plant, or hell, maybe SWIM will be able to custom order the enzymes from some biochem place(prolly not, hella expensive) SWIM just might be able to get together a lean mean, coke making machine!

If you can get the levels of reactants right, one just might be able to turn a few grams of leaves into several kg's of pure coke. you will just have to wait a week or two, depending, of course, on the rate of reaction of the enzymes.

oh, and as an aside, I always though that it would be fun to try to make a krebs cycle in a bucket or something, perhaps complete w/ mitchondria, that could turn sugar directly into an electrical charge. hehe I can just see it now, "Hey, you need to put another pound of sugar in your gastank!" :P

He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
Title: Biosomething
Post by: Organikum on April 12, 2002, 07:08:00 AM
I found it:

Epherdrine producing method by using large-scale ephedra cell culture as material

Patent Number:   CN1256316
Publication date:   2000-06-14 
Requested Patent:   CN1256316
Application Number:   CN19980125186 19981204 
Priority Number(s):   CN19980125186 19981204 
IPC Classification:   C12P13/00 
EC Classification:   
EC Classification:   
Equivalents:   CN1077600B
The present invention relates to the method of producing ephedrine by using large-scale ephedra cell ZHJ-25 CGMCC No.0359 culture as raw material. Ephedra cell ZHJ-25 CGMCC No.0359 is inoculated intosugar containing culture medium through three ways, and cultured in 25 +/- 2 deg.C for 20-50 days before the culture is dried at 60 deg.C to obtain ephedrine-containing raw material. The method is simple, may be used in continuous or semi-continuous industrial production of ephedrine in high yield and the product has stable ephedrine content.

Not so easy to get hold of as they also invented the spelling of ephedrine new.

All in all this might be a considerable pathway to many beloved compounds.
Not for those who are always in  a hurry.

If anybody has seen something similar as patent - not written in chinese/japanese, I would be very appreciated to get a hint.


"I hope I'm becoming more eccentric. More room, you know.
 More room in the brain."
Title: Cocaine biosynthetic pathway - Update
Post by: Rhodium on July 18, 2003, 02:54:00 AM
Check out

Post 295082 (

(Rhodium: "Cocaine biosynthetic pathway", Novel Discourse)
in this thread, I have updated it with a picture of the biosynthetic pathway, as well as a link to the article in question.
Title: N-Methylputrescine Oxidation in Cocaine Biosynth
Post by: Rhodium on July 28, 2003, 12:05:00 AM
N-Methylputrescine Oxidation during Cocaine Biosynthesis
Thomas R. Hoye, Jeffrey A. Bjorklund, Dmitry O. Koltun, and Matthew K. Renner

Org. Lett., 2(1), 3-5 (2000) (


10.1021/ol990940s (