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Testing & Processing Tools & technology, Formulation, Pharmaceutical

Escaping the Cell

Researchers at UCLA have found a way to produce cannabinoids without "the vagaries of plant extraction" or the use of engineered microbes (1). Their proposed system is based on enzymatic biosynthesis – using 12 different enzymes they were able to produce cannabinoids CBGA and CBGVA from four inexpensive starting chemicals. 

This method of production could have major advantages compared with extracting cannabinoids from plants, including speed, consistency, and large quantities of minor cannabinoids.

Previous attempts to make cannabinoids in this way were not commercially viable, requiring up to 25 enzymes and expensive starting materials. Though more fine-tuning is needed, the authors believe that the new process is a significant step towards cell-free cannabinoid production. 

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  1. MA Valliere et al., Nat Chem Biol [Online ahead of print] (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41589-020-0631-9.
About the Author
Charlotte Barker

Associate Content Director

After studying biology at Imperial College London, I got my start in biomedical publishing as a commissioning editor for healthcare journals, and I’ve spent my career covering everything from early-stage research to clinical medicine. Attracted by the creativity, talent and passion of the team, I joined Texere Publishing in 2014, where I’m now Associate Content Director and Editor of The Cannabis Scientist.

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