The Vegetable Alkaloids

Ame Pictet

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The Vegetable Alkaloids - Ame Pictet

Excerpt from The Vegetable Alkaloids: With Particular Reference to Their Chemical Constitution

Since the appearance in 1897 of the second edition of Prof. Ame Pictet's work, "La Constitution Chimique des Alcaloides Vegetaux," marked advances have been made in our knowledge of the alkaloids.

The chemistry of xanthine, caffeine, theobromine, etc., has attained a certain completeness of development in the recognition of their common relation to purine and in the synthesis of the latter. The constitution of nicotine has been established by its synthesis and three new alkaloids have been isolated from the tobacco-plant (Pictet). Our conceptions regarding the jaborandi alkaloids have been completely revolutionized. The extensive investigations of Ladenburg, Merling, and Willstatter have been brought to a brilliant conclusion in the complete synthesis of atropine, atropamine, belladonnine, inactive cocaine, and tropa-cocaine. Our knowledge regarding the constitution of morphine and codeine has been so far increased that probably within a short time the synthesis of these two alkaloids will be realized.

These advances have precluded a simple translation of the French edition and have necessitated the complete rewriting of several chapters and the revision of the entire work. It is believed that the present English edition fairly sets forth the latest conceptions regarding the constitution of the more important vegetable alkaloids.

It may be noted that Prof. Pictet's work on the alkaloids was rendered into German in 1900 by Wolffenstein and that a Russian edition is in process of preparation.

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