Alkaloid

"This article is about the chemical compounds alkaloids. For the pharmaceutical company in the Republic of Macedonia see Alkaloid (company).

Alkaloids are naturally occurring chemical compounds containing basic nitrogen atoms. [GoldBookRef|title=alkaloids|file=A00220|year=1995] The name derives from the word alkaline and was used to describe any nitrogen-containing base. Alkaloids are produced by a large variety of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals and are part of the group of natural products (also called secondary metabolites). Many alkaloids can be purified from crude extracts by acid-base extraction. Many alkaloids are toxic to other organisms. They often have pharmacological effects and are used as medications and recreational drugs. Examples are the local anesthetic and stimulant cocaine, the stimulant caffeine, nicotine, the analgesic morphine, or the antimalarial drug quinine. Some alkaloids have a bitter taste.

Alkaloid classifications

Alkaloids are usually classified by their common molecular precursors, based on the metabolic pathway used to construct the molecule. When not much was known about the biosynthesis of alkaloids, they were grouped under the names of known compounds, even some non-nitrogenous ones (since those molecules' structures appear in the finished product; the opium alkaloids are sometimes called "phenanthrenes", for example), or by the plants or animals they were isolated from. When more is learned about a certain alkaloid, the grouping is changed to reflect the new knowledge, usually taking the name of a biologically-important amine that stands out in the synthesis process.

* Pyridine group: piperine, coniine, trigonelline, arecoline, arecaidine, guvacine, cytisine, lobeline, nicotine, anabasine, sparteine, pelletierine.
* Pyrrolidine group: hygrine, cuscohygrine, nicotine
* Tropane group: atropine, cocaine, ecgonine, scopolamine, catuabine
* Quinoline group: quinine, quinidine, dihydroquinine, dihydroquinidine, strychnine, brucine, veratrine, cevadine
* Isoquinoline group: opium alkaloids (papaverine, narcotine, narceine), sanguinarine, hydrastine, berberine, emetine, berbamine, oxyacanthine
* Phenanthrene alkaloids: The opium alkaloids (morphine, codeine, thebaine)
* Phenethylamine group: mescaline, ephedrine, dopamine
* Indole group:
** Tryptamines: serotonin, DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, bufotenine, psilocybin
** Ergolines (the ergot alkaloids): ergine, ergotamine, lysergic acid, LSD
** Beta-carbolines: harmine, harmaline, tetrahydroharmine
** Yohimbans: reserpine, yohimbine
** Vinca alkaloids: vinblastine, vincristine
** "Mitragyna speciosa" alkaloids: mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine
** "Tabernanthe iboga" alkaloids: ibogaine, voacangine, coronaridine, 18-methoxycoronaridine
** "Strychnos nux-vomica" alkaloids: strychnine, brucine
* Purine group:
** Xanthines: caffeine, theobromine, theophylline
* Terpenoid group:
** Aconite alkaloids: aconitine
** Steroid alkaloids (containing a steroid skeleton in a nitrogen containing structure):
*** solanum (e.g. potato and tomato) alkaloids (solanidine, solanine, chaconine)
*** veratrum alkaloids (veratramine, cyclopamine, cycloposine, jervine, muldamine) [ http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/steroid.html,]
*** newt alkaloids (samandarin)
*** others conessine
* Quaternary ammonium compounds: muscarine, choline, neurine
* Miscellaneous: capsaicin, cynarin, phytolaccine, phytolaccotoxin

Physicochemical properties

Low-molecular weight alkaloids without hydrogen bond donors such as hydroxy groups are often liquid at room temperature, examples are nicotine, sparteine, coniine, and phenethylamine.

The basicity of alkaloids depends on the lone pairs of electrons on their nitrogen atoms. As organic bases, alkaloids form salts with mineral acids such as hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid and organic acids such as tartaric acid or maleic acid. These salts are usually more water-soluble than their free base form.

See also

* Amine
* Base (chemistry)
* Natural products
* Secondary metabolite

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alkaloid — Al ka*loid ([a^]l k[.a]*loid), Alkaloidal Al ka*loid al ([a^]l k[.a]*loid al), a. [Alkali + oid: cf. F. alcalo[ i]de.] 1. Pertaining to, resembling, or containing, alkali. [1913 Webster] 2. of or pertaining to alkaloids. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Alkaloid — Al ka*loid ([a^]l k[.a]*loid), n. (Chem.) An organic base, especially one of a class of nitrogen containing substances occurring ready formed in the tissues of plants and the bodies of animals. [1913 Webster] Note: Alkaloids all contain nitrogen …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • alkaloid — (n.) 1831, from ALKALI (Cf. alkali) (q.v.) + OID (Cf. oid). A general term applied to basic compounds of vegetable origin, bitter in taste, and having powerful effects on the animal system [Flood]. As an adjective by 1859 …   Etymology dictionary

  • alkaloid — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. mnż I, D. u, Mc. alkaloididzie, zwykle w lm {{/stl 8}}{{stl 7}} zasadowy związek organiczny pochodzenia roślinnego zawierający azot, zwykle nierozpuszczalny w wodzie, np. morfina, strychnina, chinina, nikotyna; odznacza… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • alkaloid — [al′kə loid΄] n. [ ALKAL(I) + OID] any of a number of heterocyclic, colorless, crystalline, bitter organic substances, such as caffeine, morphine, quinine, and strychnine, having alkaline properties and containing nitrogen: they are found in… …   English World dictionary

  • alkaloid — /al keuh loyd /, Biochem., Chem., Pharm. n. 1. any of a large class of organic, nitrogen containing ring compounds of vegetable origin and sometimes synthesized, some of which are liquid but most of which are solid, that have a bitter taste, that …   Universalium

  • Alkaloid — Strukturformel des Alkaloids Morphin Alkaloide (Wortbildung aus arabisch al qualja: „Pflanzenasche“ und griechisch oides: „ähnlich“) sind natürlich vorkommende, chemisch heterogene, meist basische, stickstoffhaltige organische Verbindungen des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • alkaloid — UK [ˈælkəˌlɔɪd] / US noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms alkaloid : singular alkaloid plural alkaloids chemistry a substance found in plants that is used in drugs and poisons. Morphine, nicotine, and strychnine are all alkaloids …   English dictionary

  • alkaloid — al|ka|loid1 [ ælkə,lɔıd ] noun count or uncount SCIENCE a substance found in plants that is used in drugs or as a poison alkaloid al|ka|loid 2 [ ælkə,lɔıd ] adjective AMERICAN TECHNICAL another word for ALKALINE …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • alkaloid — alkaloidas statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Fiziologiškai aktyvi azoto turinti bazė, randama augaluose. atitikmenys: angl. alkaloid rus. алкалоид …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

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