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The Synthesis Of Apomorphine Was Historically Accomplished By The Concentration Of Water Lilies Essay

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Introduction: Apomorphine has been used as far back as 2000 BC. In 2000 BC the Mayan’s noticed that the bulb and root of water lilies gave a narcotic feeling, as well as acted as an aphrodisiac and partial hallucinogen.1 Apomorphine belongs to a class of molecules called aporphines which are present in water lilies, more specifically in Nymphaea caerulea and Nymphaea ampla.1 While mild effects were shown in parts of water lilies, scientists wanted to know what exactly caused these effects. The compounds were isolated and tested to determine that apomorphine was the most active ingredient. The concentration of apomorphine was so low in the plants that isolation was impractical so a synthesis was designed to investigate the properties of apomorphine further; leading to apomorphine being used for Parkinson’s disease, erectile dysfunction, and most recently Alzheimer disease.

Synthesis2: The synthesis of apomorphine was historically accomplished by an acid-catalyzed rearrangement of morphine. This method typically had low and varying yields: anywhere from 0.6% to 46% yield. In 2008, a new synthesis was patented that shown yields as high as 55% to 70% yield. This new synthesis, scheme 1, uses phosphoric acid as the catalyst and phosphorus pentoxide as a water scavenger—water is the by-product of the reaction and the phosphorus pentoxide irreversibly binds to the water. The solution would then be heated to 90-100℃ in an inert atmosphere for two hours.
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