A group of scientists from the University of Miami managed to develop a method for producing psilocybin using bacteria. According to experts, microorganisms produce a substance much faster than fungi and require less area.
Psilocybin production technology on an industrial scale
University staff led by Professor Andrew Jones isolated the nucleotide sequence in the fungal DNA chain responsible for psilocybin synthesis. Then the engineers introduced the fungal genome into the DNA of Escherichia coli, which then began to produce psilocybin, fulfilling the established genetic program.
The second phase of the project was to make the bacterium produce psychedelics in large numbers. To solve this problem, experts conducted experiments for several months and achieved high results. Initially, a 1-liter bacterial colony synthesized several milligrams of psilocybin. Subsequently, this figure increased to 1.16 grams. According to Jones, the productivity of microorganisms has grown 500 times.
Unfortunately, the free version of the research report does not indicate the period for which bacteria produce psilocybin. However, Jones is confident that the technology can be used to produce psychedelics on an industrial scale, as its results are superior to all other methods from an economic point of view.
Psilocybin needed for clinical trials
The authors of the research project noted the medicinal potential of psilocybin, which was confirmed by testing the effectiveness of the substance for the treatment of addiction, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, the US authorities do not recognize the healing properties of mushrooms, so they are in Schedule I of narcotic substances.
Despite officials’ skepticism of psilocybin, several American educational institutions have applied for the study of psychedelics. Among them was the Heffter Research Institute, which set two main tasks for scientists:
- learn how psilocybin affects the brain and psyche;
- develop ways to alleviate side effects from taking the substance.
Institute President George Greer said that experts plan to evaluate the effectiveness of psilocybin in the fight against various types of addiction and mental disorders caused by cancer. One of the most promising areas is considered psilocybin therapy of cancer patients. Nevertheless, doctors say that psychedelics should be consumed only under the supervision of professionals, as it can cause negative consequences: high blood pressure and arrhythmia. In addition, psilocybin can provoke an attack on people who suffer from psychosis or manic disorders.