Producing medicine with Nicotiana benthamiana

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Plant as medicine factory

Medicinal compounds that are found in plants can be difficult to produce. These substances are often found in very small amounts in wild herbs that are not easy to cultivate.

Researchers of Wageningen UR discovered how wild plants produce some of these medicinal ingredients and they placed the genes responsible for these processes in a tobacco-like plant. This resulted in the production of medicinal compounds for malaria medication and potential cancer drugs. It even turned out that these new compounds were easier to absorb by the human body than the original substances found in wild herbs. That is how Wageningen UR contributes to the quality of life.

The alterations we make to the metabolic system of plants often have side-effects. Sometimes, however, this disavantage becomes an advantage, when the end product turns out to have excellent properties.
Harro Bouwmeester, Professor Plant physiology

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