Just as the immense potential of psilocybin is being recognized and accepted by the scientific community, researchers are already hard at work looking for new ways of making the chemical without having to rely on growing magic mushrooms on a large scale. To this end, a team of Danish researchers appears to have found an easy way to make this chemical by using yeast.
The DTU Biosustain scientists discovered that a common species of yeast used in winemaking, brewing and baking can act as a host for psilocybin when this yeast is subjected to a process that the researchers refer to as “rational metabolic engineering.”
If psilocybin gets regulatory approval as a pharmaceutical drug, using yeast to produce the psychotropic substance will be more viable commercially when compared to growing magic mushrooms or manufacturing psilocybin in a lab.
Since yeast and psilocybin are close relatives, all that scientists need to produce psilocybin is to add sugar and a few extra nutrients so that the selected specie of yeast yields the needed psychedelic.
This is in stark contrast to the chemical synthesis option which requires scientists to use very costly and hard to find substrates in the lab production process. The use of yeast brings down the production cost and these cost savings can trickle down to the patients who need these drugs to get a cure for the conditions they struggle with.
However, the DTU Biosustain study published in the Metabolic Engineering Journal reveals some significant hurdles which have to be addressed before psilocybincan be produced commercially from yeast.
One of those issues has to do with the loss of the phosphate group from the molecules produced. This loss results in the production of psilocin rather than just psilocybin, which is the commercially useful compound.
The study authors suggest that a lot more research needs to be done to address the issue of the non-phosphorylated compound (the psilocin). Only when a solution is found can large scale production of psilocybin using yeast become possible. Fortunately, scientists are already looking into this issue by studying the shikimate pathway.
Lots of research is currently ongoing on psilocybin. For example, about 50 studies in the U.S. alone are either already complete or nearing completion. The ramifications of this research has been growing agitation for the legalization of psychedelics. Major cities, such as Oakland and Denver have already decriminalized psilocybin, and the State of New York is considering legislation to legalize psilocybin.
Needless to say, pioneering companies like Field Trip Psychedelics Inc. have contributed to the pool of knowledge which has brought about this reawakening.
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