M. Singh, N. Chaturvedi, A.K. Shasany , A.K. Shukla
Papaver somniferum (opium poppy) is a treasure medicinal plant known to produce therapeutically useful alkaloids like morphine, codeine, thebaine, papaverine, etc. Its seeds have high nutritional value (oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids). Morphine, which is used as an indispensable analgesic, is in high demand. However, the narcotic nature of morphine and its easy illicit conversion into heroin has curtailed the free agriculture of P. somniferum and restricted the benefits that may accrue to the poppy farmers. Since the poppy alkaloids cannot be chemically synthesized in an economically viable manner, the plant remains the sole source of the biologically active alkaloids. Most of the licit morphine is chemically converted to codeine, which has a high pharmaceutical demand. In recent years, the trend is shifting towards thebaine and oripavine (which are precursors in the in planta morphine biosynthetic pathway) derived drugs as it is becoming increasingly difficult to control the narcotic usage of morphine. This has led to a global demand for poppy cultivars that are either (i) low in morphine but produce substantial amounts of thebaine, oripavine and codeine or (ii) are latex-less so that upon lancing the capsule do not exude latex (that contains morphine). Opium poppy crop is plagued by many devastating diseases (e.g. downy mildew). Therefore, there is a need to develop/identify disease-resistant genotypes. Significant efforts have been made globally to achieve these objectives and several speciality genotypes/cultivars of opium poppy are presently available. This paper discusses various aspects of the opium poppy crop including the present status and bottlenecks. It also highlights the future course of action to be taken for research on opium poppy.
Singh, M., Chaturvedi, N., Shasany , A.K. and Shukla, A.K. (2014). IMPACT OF PROMISING GENOTYPES OF PAPAVER SOMNIFERUM L. DEVELOPED FOR BENEFICIAL USES. Acta Hortic. 1036, 29-41
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2014.1036.3
alkaloids, latex-less, narcotic, opium poppy

Acta Horticulturae