Integrating Narcissus-derived galanthamine production into traditional upland farming systems

Mariecia Fraser, Hannah Vallin, John Richard Thomas Davies, Gareth Edwin Rowlands, Xianmin Chang

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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a disorder associated with progressive degeneration of memory and cognitive function. Galantamine is a licenced treatment for AD but supplies of the plant alkaloid that it is produced from, galanthamine, are limited. This three-year system study tested the potential to combine Narcissus-derived galanthamine production with grassland-based ruminant production. Replicate plots of permanent pasture were prepared with and without bulbs of Narcissus pseudonarcissus sown as lines into the sward. Two different fertiliser regimes were imposed. The above-ground green biomass of N. pseudonarcissus was harvested in early spring and the galanthamine yield determined. In the second harvest year a split-plot design was implemented with lines of N. pseudonarcissus cut annually and biennially. All plots were subsequently grazed by ewes and lambs and animal performance recorded. Incorporation of N. pseudonarcissus into grazed permanent pasture had no detrimental effects on the health or performance of the sheep which subsequently grazed the pasture. There was no consistency to the effects of fertiliser rates on galanthamine yields. There was no difference in overall galanthamine yield if N. pseudonarcissus was cut biennially (1.64 vs. 1.75 kg galanthamine/ha for annual combined vs biennial cuts respectively; s.e.d = 0.117 kg galanthamine/ha; ns). This study verified the feasibility of a dual cropping approach to producing plant-derived galanthamine.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1389
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2021


  • Alzheimer Disease/drug therapy
  • Animals
  • Crop Production
  • Galantamine/biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Narcissus/growth & development
  • Sheep


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