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**TEST FOR ALKALOIDS Introduction Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic

nitrogen atoms. In addition to carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, alkaloids may also contain oxygen, sulfur and more rarely other elements such as chlorine, bromine, and phosphorus. They often have pharmacological effects and are used as medications, as recreational drugs, or in entheogenic rituals. Examples are the local anesthetic and stimulant cocaine; the psychedelic psilocin; the stimulant caffeine; nicotine; the analgesic morphine; the antibacterial berberine; the anticancer compound vincristine; the antihypertension agent reserpine; the cholinomimeric galatamine; the spasmolysis agent atropine; the vasodilator vincamine; the anti-arhythmia compound quinidine; the anti-asthma therapeutic ephedrine; and the antimalarial drug quinine. Plants are thoroughly ground before extraction. Most alkaloids are present in the raw plants in the form of salts of organic acids. The extracted alkaloids may remain salts or change into bases. One of the largest groups of chemical arsenals produced by plants is the alkaloids. Many of these metabolic by-products are derived from amino acids and include an enormous number of bitter, nitrogenous compounds. According to R. F. Raffauf Plant Alkaloids: A Guide To Their Discovery and Distribution (1996), more than 10000 different alkaloids have been discovered in species form over 300 plant families. Alkaloids often contain one or more rings of carbon atoms, usually with a nitrogen atom in the ring. The position of the nitrogen atom in the carbon ring varies with different alkaloids and with different plant families. In some alkaloids, such as mescaline, the nitrogen atom is not within a carbon ring. In fact it is the precise position of the nitrogen atom that affects the properties of these alkaloids. Objectives To be able to test for the presence of alkaloids in plants To be able to describe the use of alkaloids in pharmaceutical products Materials and Methods Potato Katsa Knife Test tube Chloroform Sodium bicarbonate

Wash and peel the potato and chop the skin.

Express the sap using katsa then put it in a test tube.

Add an equal amount of chloroform then shake the test tube.

Add sodium bicarbonate in the mixture.

Observe for the presence of a precipitate.

Results and Discussion After performing the experiment, a brown precipitate is evident which means that there is a presence of alkaloids in the specimen Solanum tuberosum. The alkaloids contained in potato are the a-solanine and achaconine. They contribute flavor to potatoes but at higher concentrations cause bitterness and are toxic to humans. Their natural function is to serve as stress metabolites for the protection of the potato when attacked by insects, fungi, ets. Increases of solanine in the potato peel are closely associated with greening (synthesis of chlorophyll) of the peel. Conclusions and Recommendation Solanum tuberosum contains an alkaloid namely the a-solanine and a-chaconine. This experiment can be useful for the pharmacology unit since it establishes compounds that plants contain. As for the recommendation, other plants that belong to the same family or even not can be used as the specimen for the same kind of experiment since alkaloids are a compound found almost in all plants as was said earlier. References Mind-Altering Plant Alkaloids retrieved July 16, 2013 from Cantwell, Marita. A Review of Important Facts about Potato Glycoalkaloids (August 1996) retrieved July 16, 2013 from Cassiano, Nicole M. Alkaloids: Properties, Applications and Pharmacological Effects retrieved July 16, 2013 from