Author Topic: LSD Biosynthesis?!  (Read 676 times)

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  • Guest
LSD Biosynthesis?!
« on: April 12, 2002, 09:48:00 PM »
Okay, found this on some ethnobotany site:

"It has been shown that some strains of Claviceps paspali in saprophytic culture are capable of transforming this natural hydroxyethylamide of lysergic acid into its close relative, the diethylamide, or LSD [vide: F. Arcamone et alii, "Production of a new lysergic acid derivative in submerged culture by a strain of Claviceps paspali Stevens and Hall" Proceedings of the Royal Society 155B: 26-54, 1961]. It thus appears likely that there exist strains' of ergot which produce LSD itself, and that this will eventually be shown to be a natural product."

This from Ott's "Pharmacophilia" pp125-126

... and then the guy adds the following:

"Forgot to point out that lysergic acid-n-(1-hydroxyethyl)amide (a natural morning glory alkaloid) was added to the solution that the culture was sumberged in.

Apparently ergot, in much the same way psilocybe spp. mycelium converts tryptamine --> 4-OH-n,n-DMT, can biosynthesize its OWN nifty alkaloids.  This would certainly make LSD (bio)synthesis a snap compared to building the molecule from ergotamine tartrate."

If this is true, I think we're on to something. Comments please?


  • Guest
I suppose if you figured out what atoms the ergot ...
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2002, 08:15:00 PM »
I suppose if you figured out what atoms the ergot enzymes added and where, you could infer from that what the fungus would create from LSA. Does anyone know the how ergot adds what onto which molecule?

Or, I suppose one could attempt to extract the LSD from ergot grown on an LSA laced substrate. This idea is too promising not to look into...


  • Guest
re: LSD Biosynthesis
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2002, 09:05:00 PM »
i found this lying around on my hardrive:

it doesn't really give alot of specifics, but it does show the basic idea.

- nevry.


  • Guest
Re: I suppose...
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2002, 09:15:00 PM »
So assuming that this is true, that claviceps papsali would produce LSD when fed an LSA laced substrate, how difficult would it be to separate out the LSD from the other ergot alkaloids in the final product. Could one simply A/B extract the total alkaloid fraction from the culture medium and throw the whole thing into a chromatography column? I am not familiar with chromatography procedures and their limitations. Thanks so much.


  • Guest
Uh oh...
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2002, 02:46:00 AM »
nevry, that had better not be your or a friend's server!

Check your PMs.

To Bee, or not to Bee...  ;-)


  • Guest
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2002, 06:37:00 AM »
Well, if the genes responsible for the production of the appropriate LSA precursors could be determined, extracted, and spliced into the ergot genome then the natural enzymes present could convert it to LSD.
On the other hand, the genes from the ergot responsible for producing the enzymes that convert the LSA to LSD could be isolated and spliced into the morning glory genome.

Easier said than done, but interesting nonetheless.

However, since LSD is easily danaged, other provisions would be necessary to ensure the molecule isn't degraded as quickly as it is produced. :(


  • Guest
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2002, 04:56:00 AM »
As a theme for fiction (forgive if this is off topic) it seems like a real scary room to enter, the lab for severe genetic manipulation of ergot spp. The subject species are robust, even within the hardy fungi. Since the reasons they have evolved a sophisticated and complex chemical weapons factory (to produce some of the most potent and subtle neurotoxins in the natural world) are not known, it could turn out to bee injudicious to arbitrarily start carving up their genome. I'm not superstitious nor paranoid; I just make it my habit, to go around looking for things to worry about.

Is the title "Production of a new lysergic acid derivative in submerged culture by a strain of Claviceps p." a deliberate understatement, or what, if they were talking about LSD? That's surely amenable to environmental optimization, without gene splicing of ergot.

a half a pints a half a pound a half a world a half a round


  • Guest
Acid bioterrorism
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2002, 02:16:00 PM »
Horror Show? Such as genetically engineer E. coli bacterium to produce LSD, and then accidentally release them into the environment (city water supply) so that everyone coming into contact with the infected body of water develops their own LSD-producing bacterial culture in their gastrointestinal system - everyone goes boinkers, and the source of the LSD found in the bloodstream of all the affected people cannot be determined until it is to late and the bacterial strain has spread to a large portion of the population. It would also be impossible to eradicate it, as the strain can not be specifically targeted by antibiotics, and killing off the entire E. coli population in the world is out of the question, as that would do even more harm than good.

Ok, that's the synopsis. Where is Stephen King when you need him to write a complete movie script?

The sequel is pretty obvious - In "Acid Bugs II" the E. coli strain once again escapes into the environment, and this time not restricted to E. coli, the gene plasmids transfects other single cell organisms just like antibiotic resistance is carried across different species. Finally, when introduced into blue-green algae, the entire animal population of the world is at risk of going insane, as the LSD concentration in the oceans rise exponentially, as the new genes bring such an advantage to the plankton as all species which usually eat it gradually gets more and more incoherent in their actions until they cannot feed themselves - will the earth be covered in a thick slime layer of blue-green algae floating on an ocean which has turned into an aqueous solution of LSD, or will our heros save the world in time?

Acid Bugs III - coming soon to a theater near you. This time the LSD-producing genes has mutated to take advantage of the chlorinated hydrocarbons from the pollution of the environment, synthesizing a halogenated LSD analog 100 times as potent as the original, and which is not biodegradable...


  • Guest
Screenplay Residuals
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2002, 04:33:00 PM »
That's it, you got it!

Anyway what mnmguy has taught us, is to include ground-up MG seeds, or their extract, in our ergot culture medium. That makes it worthwile to stick the ergot extract straight into HPLC preparation. It's a good bet, that about any ergot strain selected for high alkaloid production, would pull the neat trick reported to yield LSD. Worth a test, far easier than the sythesis if it works.

a half a pints a half a pound a half a world a half a round
Sidearm n. Flask neck tube.