Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids (BIAs) are a family of ∼2500 alkaloids with both potential and realized pharmaceutical value, including most notably the opiates such as codeine and morphine. Only a few BIAs accumulate readily in plants, which limits the pharmaceutical potential of the family. Shifting BIA production to microbial sources could provide a scalable and flexible source of these compounds in the future. This review details the current status of microbial BIA synthesis and derivatization, including rapid developments in the past 6 months culminating in the synthesis of opioids from glucose in a microbial host.
Trends in Biotechnology – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2016
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