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J Basic Microbiol. 1989;29(6):347-52.

Biotransformation of tryptamine derivatives in mycelial cultures of Psilocybe.

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  • 1Institut für Biotechnologie der AdW, Leipzig.


Mycelial cultures of Psilocybe cubensis capable of forming psilocybin and psilocin de novo display a high capacity for hydroxylation of tryptamine derivatives at the 4-position. A specific biotransformation of added synthetic N,N-diethyl-tryptamine was found. Thus high amounts of 4-hydroxy-N,N-diethyltryptamine (up to 3.3%) and a minor quantity of 4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-diethyltryptamine (0.01-0.8%) were isolated from fruiting bodies of Psilocybe cubensis in corresponding experiments. This is the first example of a directed biosynthesis of tryptamine substances by fungi. An effective biotransformation of N-methyltryptamine was also demonstrated with surface cultures of Psilocybe semilanceata. Baeocystin, a possible natural precursor of psilocybin, was detected and quantified in the biomasses. No alkaloids could be found in the culture medium.

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