Scientists have found a way of transforming ordinary sugar into hydrocodone. This will lead to a cheaper way of manufacturing opiates. Unfortunately, it will also make things easier for drug traffickers selling a cheaper product,
Yeast changes sugar into pain killer. This takes out the entire one year growing season for poppies and the factory process itself. At present, 4,400 gallons of yeast is needed to produce a small amount of hydrocodone. Work will proceed to improve this.
With yeast as the catalyst, it looks like plant-based medication manufacturing is under threat. Yeast has snippets of DNA added to reprogram cells into target compounds. Notably, a third of the world's supply of the medication artemisinin is already produced from modified yeast. Artemisinin needs six genes while hydrocodone requires 23. Some genes from rats arehydrocodone.put into the yeast to make
A "halfway-house" way of manufacturing pain killers is possible. A strain of yeast to make thebaine is available. It has to be processed in a factory to create the thebaine opiate, but it is cheaper than using poppies and is quicker.
◆ Chemistry by Ty Buchanan ◆