Dutch researcher Patrick Vronen from Wageningen University has investigated several methods for converting toxins in high-starch potatoes into a raw material for steroid hormones used, for example, in contraceptive pills.
The molecular structure of the potato toxin solanidine, which is found in high-starch potatoes, is similar to that of diosgenine. Diosgenine is the current precursor for synthetic hormones. Patrick Vronen converted solanidine into dehydropregnenolone acetate (DPA). This substance is an intermediary product in the production of hormones that are similar to progesterone and cortisone.
The interest in the conversion of potato toxins into the intermediary DPA, is partly due to the increasing price of the current raw material for steroid hormones. The current precursor for diosgenine is isolated from Costus speciosus, a ginger species from China. The availability of diosgenine and the monopoly position of China in the supply of the raw material both pose risks.
Nalinie Moerlie | alfa
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