Volume 25, Issue 4 p. 897-903
Concept

Production Options for Psilocybin: Making of the Magic

Janis Fricke

Janis Fricke

Department Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Hans-Knöll-Institute Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Beutenbergstrasse 11a, 07745 Jena, Germany

Search for more papers by this author
Claudius Lenz

Claudius Lenz

Department Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Hans-Knöll-Institute Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Beutenbergstrasse 11a, 07745 Jena, Germany

Search for more papers by this author
Jonas Wick

Jonas Wick

Department Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Hans-Knöll-Institute Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Beutenbergstrasse 11a, 07745 Jena, Germany

Search for more papers by this author
Felix Blei

Felix Blei

Department Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Hans-Knöll-Institute Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Beutenbergstrasse 11a, 07745 Jena, Germany

Search for more papers by this author
Prof. Dr. Dirk Hoffmeister

Corresponding Author

Prof. Dr. Dirk Hoffmeister

Department Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Hans-Knöll-Institute Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Beutenbergstrasse 11a, 07745 Jena, Germany

Search for more papers by this author
First published: 16 July 2018
Citations: 29

Graphical Abstract

Magic routes: Psilocybin is the natural product of “magic mushrooms” and the prodrug of the psychotropic compound psilocin. Recently, medical interest in psilocybin has re-emerged. This concept article highlights in vitro and biotechnological approaches for the production of psilocybin, along with a summary of synthetic routes.

Abstract

The fungal genus Psilocybe and other genera comprise numerous mushroom species that biosynthesize psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine). It represents the prodrug to its dephosphorylated psychotropic analogue, psilocin. The colloquial term “magic mushrooms” for these fungi alludes to their hallucinogenic effects and to their use as recreational drugs. However, clinical trials have recognized psilocybin as a valuable candidate to be developed into a medication against depression and anxiety. We here highlight its recently elucidated biosynthesis, the concurrently developed concept of enzymatic in vitro and heterologous in vivo production, along with previous synthetic routes. The prospect of psilocybin as a promising therapeutic may entail an increased demand, which can be met by biotechnological production. Therefore, we also briefly touch on psilocybin's therapeutic relevance and pharmacology.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.