On the Importance of Positive Controls

The study found that home-brew fermentations using engineered yeast did not produce thebaine, a morphinan opiate, and only produced small amounts of reticuline, a precursor to thebaine. This highlights the technical challenges and differences between industrial bioreactors and home-brew fermentation that would need to be addressed in order for home-brew biosynthesis of medicinal opiates to become a reality.
  • #1

Ygggdrasil

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Found this abstract while browsing through some papers, and thought it was quite humorous:
Yeast-based biosynthesis of medicinal compounds traditionally derived from plant materials is improving. Both concerns and hopes exist for the possibility that individual small volume batch fermentations could provide distributed and independent access to a diversity of compounds some of which are now abused, illegal, or unavailable to many who need for genuine medical purposes. However, there are differences between industrial bioreactors and ‘home-brew’ fermentation. We used engineered yeast that make thebaine, a morphinan opiate, to quantify if differences in fermentation conditions impact biosynthesis yields. We used yeast that make an English ale as a positive fermentation control. We observed no production of thebaine and miniscule amounts of reticuline, an upstream biosynthetic intermediate, in home-brew fermentations; the positive control was palatable. We suggest that additional technical challenges, some of which are unknown and likely unrelated to optimized production in large-volume bioreactors, would need to be addressed for engineered yeast to ever realize home-brew biosynthesis of medicinal opiates at meaningful yields.

Endy, Galanie & Smolke. 2015 Complete absence of thebaine biosynthesis under home-brew fermentation conditions. bioRxiv doi:10.1101/024299

Full text freely available at http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2015/08/13/024299
 
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  • #2
Alternative introduction: "We found a reason to make beer at home using science grants".
 
  • #3
We observed no production of thebaine and miniscule amounts of reticuline, an upstream biosynthetic intermediate, in home-brew fermentations;
So - no 'opiate for the masses' ?
 
  • #4
jim hardy said:
So - no 'opiate for the masses' ?
Not at the moment, at least.
 

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