|Title of host publication||Encyclopedia of Applied Plant Sciences|
|Editors||Brian Thomas, Brian G. Murray, Denis J. Murphy|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
Alkaloids are complex organic molecules containing a heterocyclic nitrogen ring, which have been widely exploited for their diverse pharmacological properties. Although alkaloids are found in many different organisms, including animals and microbes, the higher plants contain a particularly diverse array of these compounds. Some alkaloids are directly beneficial for medicinal applications, while others are toxic and potentially dangerous to humans. Efforts are now underway to create new varieties of plants and microbes that are able to safely produce high levels of useful alkaloids at low cost for medical uses.