Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Contraceptive pill produced from potato toxin

24.06.2003


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.


The direct conversion of the potato toxin solanidine into the intermediary product DPA would have a signifcant economic advantage because the existing DPA factories could continue to operate. In these factories the raw material from ginger is converted into DPA, which is then processed into the desired steroid hormone products. Therefore the existing factories could be used to convert the DPA obtained from the potato toxin solanidine into the final hormone product.

Vronen tested various methods for converting the toxin into the raw material but none of these resulted in the desired end product. Only a reaction involving the toxic substance bromine cyanide resulted in a product from which the intermediary DPA could be made. With the aid of calculations, Vronen then showed that bromocyanide is one of the few reagents that can break the correct bonds within solanidine. However, due to the toxicity of bromine cyanide this method cannot be used to produce hormones on a large scale.

Nalinie Moerlie | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nwo.nl

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

X-ray scattering shines light on protein folding

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Looking at linkers helps to join the dots

10.07.2020 | Materials Sciences

Surprisingly many peculiar long introns found in brain genes

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>