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Information @ a Glance

  • An alkaloid is, strictly speaking, a naturally occurring amine produced by a plant,[1] but amines produced by animals and fungi are also called alkaloids.
  • Alkaloids are usually classified by their common molecular feat, based on the metabolic pathway used to construct the molecule.
  • Alkaloids are usually derivatives of amino acids, and many have a bitter taste.

Extraction Process

  • The alkaloids are organic nitrogenous bases found mainly in plants, but also to a lesser extent in microorganisms and animals.
  • Alkaloids containing quaternary amines are also found in nature.
  • Purine alkaloids can be extracted from ground herbal mate tea (Ilex paraguaryensis) using a high-pressure apparatus


  • The production of alkaloids from Cereus peruvianus callus cultured in medium supplemented with different tyrosine concentrations, different 2,4-D/kinetin levels, and with NaCl was investigated using long-term callus culture.
  • α- and β-Esterase isozyme patterns were also analyzed to investigate the differential gene expression in callus subcultured with the different tyrosine concentrations.
  • A critical evaluation of the limitations of the submerged fermentation(SmF) process for ergot alkaloids production and the well recognized advantages of the solid state fermentation(SSF) technique indicate that the latter is more suited for alkaloid production.

Applications & Technology

  • Nojirimycin (1; NJ), isolated from a Streptomyces filtrate, was the first polyhydroxylated alkaloid discovered to be a carbohydrate mimic. More than one hundred of these carbohydrate mimics, commonly called azasugars or iminosugars.
  • The ability of azasugars to act as inhibitors of glycosidases is a result of their ability to resemble the structure of natural substrates in their shape or charge or both.
  • Extraction of alkaloids Using new extraction technique from natural products such as Hyoscyamus muticus, Datura stramonium and Ruta graveolens consists of the use of a sonicated solution containing a surfactant as extracting agent.


  • Ephedrine alkaloids were promoted as weight control aids, energy boosters, and athletic performance enhancers.
  • The value of EU imports of medicinal plants stabilised at 375 million, while the value of EU imports of medicinal and vegetable saps & extracts ( 101 million), and vegetable alkaloids ( 521 million) decreased.
  • China supplied roughly 36% of the total value of alkaloids originating in developing countries, followed by India (25%) and Brazil (19%).

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