eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1952
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of the estonian academy of sciences
ISSN 1736-7530 (Electronic)
ISSN 1736-6046 (Print)
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Content of alkaloids in ornamental Papaver somniferum L. cultivars growing in Estonia; pp. 34–39

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Andres Meos, Liis Saks, Ain Raal


The alkaloid content in industrial opium poppies (Papaver somniferum L.) has been studied by numerous authors, but not in ornamental cultivars.The aim of the study was to investigate the content of morphine, codeine, and papaverine in P. somniferum cultivars by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and capillary electrophoresis (CE). The studied poppy capsules were either grown from the ornamental poppy seeds purchased from different vendors or were unknown cultivars from home gardens in Estonia, cultivated as ornamental poppies. All dried capsules samples (n = 34) contained on average 362 mg/100g of morphine, 25 mg/100g of codeine, and 29 mg/100g of papaverine as determined by CE. The content of morphine determined by HPLC was 152–676 mg/100g, which is a remarkably high concentration allowing potential illegal use of ornamental poppies. Both analytical methods demonstrated similar results. Hence, CE is a suitable alternative to HPLC for quantitative analysis of opium alkaloids as it simplifies the sample preparation procedure.


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