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Volume 45 Number 5 Volume 45 Number 6

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ScienceAsia 45 (2019): 399-407 |doi: 10.2306/scienceasia1513-1874.2019.45.399

Recent advances in cannabinoid biochemistry and biotechnology

Futoshi Tauraa,*, Ryosuke Tanayaa, Supaart Sirikantaramasb,*

ABSTRACT:     Cannabinoids, produced only in Cannabis sativa, are meroterpenoid secondary metabolites composed of monoterpene and polyketide moieties. Numerous cannabinoids have been isolated, and their pharmacological studies and clinical trials have been extensively conducted. Consequently, in recent years, certain formulations containing ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive principle of marijuana, and its isomer cannabidiol have been approved as prescribed medicines for various refractory diseases in about 30 countries. In addition, recent pioneering studies using a set of biosynthetic genes have enabled synthetic biology and synthetic biochemistry approaches to access plant-derived cannabinoids and new-to-nature analogues without the need for plant breeding. This review introduces the history of cannabinoid biosynthetic studies, and focuses on the biotechnological applications of biosynthetic enzymes.

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a Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences for Research, University of Toyama, Sugitani, Toyama 930-0194 Japan
b Molecular Crop Research Unit, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330 Thailand

* Corresponding author, E-mail: taura@pha.u-toyama.ac.jp, supaart.s@chula.ac.th

Received 7 Nov 2019, Accepted 18 Oct 2018