The origin of the tropic acid ester moiety, found in some of the tropane alkaloids, but particularly in hyoscyamine and scopolamine, has been a subject of discussion and investigation in biosynthesis for many years. Recently it has been shown in Datura stramonium root cultures that hyoscyamine arises by isomerisation of the tropane alkaloid littorine. The mechanism of this isomerisation process is not obvious and in this review we present our recent results and current thinking on this process.
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