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Progress and Prospects of Ergot Alkaloid Research

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Part of the Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology book series (ABE, volume 68)

Abstract

Ergot alkaloids, produced by the plant parasitic fungi Claviceps purpurea are important pharmaceuticals. The chemistry, biosynthesis, bioconversions, physiological controls, and biochemistry have been extensively reviewed by earlier authors.We present here the research done on the organic synthesis of the ergot alkaloids during the past two decades. Our aim is to apply this knowledge to the synthesis of novel synthons and thus obtain new molecules by directed biosynthesis. The synthesis of clavine alkaloids, lysergic acid derivatives, the use of tryptophan as the starting material, the chemistry of 1,3,4,5-tetrahydrobenzo[cd]indoles, and the structure activity relationships for ergot alkaloids have been discussed. Recent advances in the molecular biology and enzymology of the fungus are also mentioned. Application of oxygen vectors and mathematical modeling in the large scale production of the alkaloids are also discussed. Finally, the review gives an overview of the use of modern analytical methods such as capillary electrophoresis and two-dimensional fluorescence spectroscopy.

Keywords

Ergot Alkaloid synthesis Claviceps Directed biosynthesis Bioreactors 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Technische ChemieUniversität HannoverHannoverGermany

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