Biosynthesis and transport of the lupin alkaloids – University of Copenhagen

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Copenhagen Plant Science Centre > Meet the Scientists > Fernando's group > Biosynthesis and trans...

Biosynthesis and transport of the lupin alkaloids

Lupins are nitrogen-fixing legumes that accumulate toxic alkaloids in their protein-rich beans. Little is known about how these alkaloids are made and stored, but published results point at young leaves as the main production sites and suggest translocation to the beans through the phloem.

Chemical structure of three common lupin alkaloids that confer toxicity to lupin beans.

With support from the VILLUM Foundation, we aim to discover essential enzymes and transporters involved in the biosynthesis and translocation of alkaloids in lupins.

Apart from filling important gaps in our understanding of alkaloid metabolism, the project will set the stage for the creation of improved lupin varieties that will help tackle the EU’s dependency on protein imports. 

The picture shows Sophie Otterbach performing crosses between different lupin varieties in the greenhouse.