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SUstainable PROduction of GALanthamine by both in vitro and agricultural crops of highly galanthamine-containing plants (SUPROGAL)
Start date: 01 Feb 2009, End date: 31 Mar 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Galanthamine is an alkaloid produced exclusively by plants of the family Amaryllidaceae, mainly belonging to the genus Galanthus, Leucojum and Narcissus. Owing to its acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity, galanthamine is used and marketed for the treatment of the Alzheimer’s disease, among others. Although it is obtained by organic synthesis, galanthamine is also being extracted from natural sources. Both Galanthus and Leucojum plants are very widespread in the Eastern European countries, whereas Narcissus plants are mainly distributed in the Mediterranean region. For industrial purposes, Leucojum aestivum plants are gathered from wild populations in their natural habitat, which causes increasing problems regarding quality of the plant material as well as depletion pressure on the natural populations of L. aestivum. By development of an in vitro production method, both problems will be overcome. Narcissus confusus, an endemic species growing in Spain, was found to produce around two-fold higher amount of galanthamine than L. aestivum. Both plant species will also be propagated and subjected to further agronomic studies for the initiation of new crops of highly galanthamine-containing plants. Integrating both research approaches, the initiation of new crops of L. aestivum and N. confusus and the establishment of the in vitro production method, will result in the development of a sustainable production method of galanthamine. Since galanthamine in Europe is produced by highly specialised SMEs, significant improvement in this field can only be achieved by cooperation on European level. The co-operative research implemented in the SUPROGAL project will thus markedly improve the competitiveness of the involved SMEs."
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