Home Brewed Morphine: The secret is in the yeast

Beer home brewers are very familiar with yeasts and how they work to make the concoction taste like beer more than any of the ingredients.

If you have the right DNA from plants, meaning, the poppy fruits, together with the modified yeast, you just have to follow the proper steps of creating the home brew morphine, and voila you have the forbidden formula. I have no plans of making it myself, neither would like you to do it. I’m just curious how things would work out.

One process involved is producing a chemical agent known as reticulane’ It, is one of the reasons why very few people could make the home concoction successfully. Until now.

However a genius from an Ivy League School I’m referring here to a University of California, bioengineer who said “What you really want to do from a fermentation perspective is to be able to feed the yeast glucose, which is a cheap sugar source, and have the yeast do all the chemical steps required downstream to make your target therapeutic drug.

“With our study, all the steps have been described, and it’s now a matter of linking them together and scaling up the process.

“It’s not a trivial challenge, but it’s doable.”

“Morphine when used legally and properly plays a vital role in pain relief in many hospitals, but it requires a poppy harvest to manufacture.”

Brewing morphine could, eventually, be easier. “It could also allow scientists to tweak each of the steps to develop new types of painkiller.”

.The technique of utilizing microscopic living things is an old practice in medicine dating even before the microscope was invented.

Insulin for people suffering from diabetes has also been home grown using a genetically modified yeast.

Concerns have been expressed concerning the legalities surrounding the DIY production of these narcotic drugs.

“In principle, anyone with access to the yeast strain and basic skills in fermentation would be able to grow morphine producing yeast using a a home-brew kit for beer-making,” reads a comment piece in Nature journal.

“It calls for tight controls on such genetically modified yeasts.”

Prof Paul Freemont, one of the directors of the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation at Imperial College London, said: “Making opioids that can be used in an illegal sense makes this an important story.

“It’s technically demanding to make these strains, but in the future who is to know.

“That is why this is such an important time, how do we regulate these strains?”

Image: http://i.cbc.ca/

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-32780624


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