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ToxPot – Using potato side streams for the extraction of glycoalkaloids.

The fruits and seeds of most crops are consumed; this is not the case with the potato, among others. Here, only the underground bulbs of the potato plants are utilized, which are commonly referred to as potatoes. Despite this name, these bulbs are not the fruits of the potato. In fact, potatoes do form flowers and then also fruits, so-called "potato berries", but these are inedible due to their high content of toxic glycoalkaloids. The ToxPot project will investigate whether the currently unused above-ground parts of potato plants, including the potato berries and the constituents they contain, can be used for other purposes. Potato berries and flowers contain glycoalkaloids, which have anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory effects and can be valuable starting materials for the pharmaceutical industry and also interesting candidates for biobased crop protection agents. However, depending on the dose, they have toxic effects on animals and humans. In the ToxPot project, the constituents from the above-ground parts of the potato plant are analyzed and new compounds are identified. Developmental and cultivar-specific differences are being investigated. Chemical and enzymatic methods are being developed to convert the alkaloids into derivatives with lower toxicity and unchanged or new bioactive properties. The derivatives are tested for their effect on pests and non-target organisms in sugarbeet cultivation.


Under project coordination of Dr. Franziska Genzel, a new BioSC-funded project is started at IBG-4 Bioinformatics, Research Center Jülich together with partners from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and the University of Bonn. Together with Dr. Thomas Classen and Prof. Dr. Jörg Pietruszka from the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry at HHU Düsseldorf and Dr. Sylvia Schleker and Prof. Dr. Florian Grundler from INRES - Molecular Phytomedicine at the University of Bonn, Dr. Franziska Genzel (coordination), Dr. Anika Wiese-Klinkenberg and Prof. Dr. Björn Usadel from IBG-4 Bioinformatics are investigating how the ingredients from unused residues of potato production can be beneficially used.

ToxPot is part of the NRW strategy project BioSC and is funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia for 2 years as a SEED FUND 3.0 project.

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