Synthesis of morphinane alkaloids during opium poppy somatic embryogenesis Academic Article uri icon


  • Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum L.) tissue cultures were examines by thin-layer and high performance liquid chromatography (TLC; HPLC) for qualitative and quantitative changes in morphinane alkaloid content during somatic embryogenesis. Somatic embryos were examined at weekley intervals over a 7-week induction and maturation period. Thebaine was the only morphinane positively identified in tissue extracts and in spent growth media. Neither morphine nor codeine were produced in detectable quantities during somatic embryogenesis. Production of thebaine was developmentally regulated, gradually increasing following the removal of auxin from the culture medium. Accumulation of this alkaloid in the growth medium paralleled its appearance in somatic embryos. Alkaloid synthesis in somatic embryos appeared to require a minimum level of organization that could also be disrupted by the spontaneous loss of embryogenic potential that was observed in some culture lines. © 1986.

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Galewsky, S., & Nessler, C. L.

citation count

  • 21

publication date

  • January 1986