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J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Feb 20;103(3):439-47. Epub 2005 Sep 30.

Cocaine distribution in wild Erythroxylum species.

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Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Analytical Chemistry, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences EPGL, University of Geneva, 20 Bd d'Yvoy, 1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.


Cocaine distribution was studied in leaves of wild Erythroxylum species originating from Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Mexico, USA, Venezuela and Mauritius. Among 51 species, 28 had never been phytochemically investigated before. Cocaine was efficiently and rapidly extracted with methanol, using focused microwaves at atmospheric pressure, and analysed without any further purification by capillary gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Cocaine was reported for the first time in 14 species. Erythroxylum laetevirens was the wild species with the highest cocaine content. Its qualitative chromatographic profile also revealed other characteristic tropane alkaloids. Finally, its cocaine content was compared to those of two cultivated coca plants as well as with a coca tea bag sample.

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