Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy
SEED FUND 3.0 project ToxPot

Evaluation of the potential of utilizing potato-side streams for extraction of alkaloids

Photo: Abdullah Sarhan (CC BY-SA 4.0)


ToxPot aims at the potential use of secondary ingredients from by-products of potato production, mainly potato berries and flowers, for chemical or enzymatic steroid synthesis for further pharmaceutical use and for use as plant-based biological pesticides. Aboveground potato plant parts remain unused on the field in commercial cultivation. Flowers and young berries contain high levels of steroidal alkaloids, in particular the glycoalkaloids α-solanine and α-chaconine. Among others, steroidal alkaloids have anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties. At high levels, steroidal alkaloids can be toxic to animals and humans. In addition to α-solanine and α-chaconine, a large number of other alkaloids have been detected in potato species. Alkaloids are a valuable feedstock for synthesis of pharmaceuticals and represent interesting candidates for development of bio-based plant protection products. The metabolite composition of the potato berries and flowers is to be examined in a metabolite screening for further secondary metabolites e.g. novel alkaloids. Development-specific and cultivar-specific differences in the content of alkaloids will be studied as well as the influence of a berry or flower harvest on the tuber yield. The potato alkaloids will be converted into further alkaloid derivatives through the development of simple, environmentally friendly, chemical and / or enzymatic processes. One aim is to reduce the high toxicity of the glycoalkaloids and at the same time to maintain or generate biocidal and bioactive properties. The toxicity of these derivatives towards non-target organisms as well as phytopathogenic target organisms will be tested in order to identify possible products for further development of the project work.

SEED FUND 3.0 Coordinator

Dr. Franziska Genzel
IBG-4: Bioinformatics
Forschungszentrum Jülich
email: f.genzel[at]



Prof. Dr. Usadel & Dr. Wiese-Klinkenberg, IBG-4: Bioinformatics, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Prof. Dr. Pietruszka & Dr. Classen, IBOC - Bioorganic Chemistry, HHU Düsseldorf
Prof. Dr. Grundler & Dr. Schleker, INRES - Molecular Phytomedicine, University of Bonn


Funding period

01.02.2022 - 31.03.2024



ToxPot is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.