A. Alkaloids are the most diverse group of natural products that exist within living organisms (Hartmann, 1998). Alkaloids are a diverse group of low molecular weight; nitrogen-containing compounds mainly derived from amino acids, and are found in about 20% of plant species. Alkaloids play a very important role in organism metabolism and functional activity. They are metabolic products in plants, animals and microorganisms (Aniszewski, 2007). Due to their potent biological activity, many of the approximately 12,000 known alkaloids are used for certain physiological roles that can be both beneficial and detrimental to living organisms every day.
History of Alkaloids: When, How, and by Who? :
Alkaloids are noted to been used by humans since ancient times for medical and recreational use. During these ancient times alkaloid use was typically limited to priests, medicine men, shamans, magicians and witches due to the expertise needed in prescribing a non-lethal dose. The earliest evidence that humans used alkaloid-producing plants was over 4,000 years ago through the discovery of Assyrian clay tablets. On these plates many …show more content…
Alkaloids are found in the seeds, leaves, roots, and fruits of plants. The alkaloid Nicotine is found in the leaves of the Tobacco plant (Nicotiana tabacum). The tobacco plants leaves are harvested, cured and aged before being processed for cigarettes. Increased uptake of nitrates from the fertilizer makes it possible for the plants to synthesize more nicotine as they grow, but also increases the nitrate content in the plants themselves, which in the smoking process leads to a higher level of carcinogenic substances in the smoke (M. Singer, A. Batra, K. Mann, 2012). The presence of the alkaloid nicotine in the tobacco plants greatly influences the quality of the tobacco products companies are able to