Background: A reliable and science-based taxonomic determination of Papaver somniferum L. (opium poppy), the illegal species of the genus Papaver, may have practical and legal implications for law enforcement. P. somniferum is a controlled plant because of its narcotic substances, such as morphine and codeine. As poppy plants have rather similar morphological features, both chemical and genetic analysis are required in order to achieve an accurate characterization of such species. The chemical structures of alkaloids are extremely variable even within the same species, which is why the genetic approach may lead to a more scientific Papaver sp. differentiation. The aim of our study was the taxonomic identification of poppy capsules seized by the Italian Police Forces being considered as potential P. somniferum derivatives. Methods: The alkaloids detected using gas chromatography/mass-spectrometry (GC/MS) were morphine, codeine, thebaine, noscapine, meconin, hydrocotarnine, and traces of papaverine. Further genetic analysis was carried out simulta-neously using three plastid DNA barcoding regions (matK, trnH-psbA, and rbcL) for the samples’ identification. Results: The Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) method showed that the analysed samples were genetically identical. Conclusions: The morphological, toxicological, and genetic profile of the samples revealed that they belonged to P. somniferum species. Furthermore, the alkaloid content of dried poppy capsules might be used to investigate and track their origin.

Tittarelli, R., Gismondi, A., Di Marco, G., Mineo, F., Vernich, F., Russo, C., et al. (2022). Forensic Application of Genetic and Toxicological Analyses for the Identification and Characterization of the Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum L.). BIOLOGY, 11(5), 672 [10.3390/biology11050672].

Forensic Application of Genetic and Toxicological Analyses for the Identification and Characterization of the Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum L.)

Gismondi A.;Di Marco G.;Russo C.;Marsella L. T.;Canini A.
2022

Abstract

Background: A reliable and science-based taxonomic determination of Papaver somniferum L. (opium poppy), the illegal species of the genus Papaver, may have practical and legal implications for law enforcement. P. somniferum is a controlled plant because of its narcotic substances, such as morphine and codeine. As poppy plants have rather similar morphological features, both chemical and genetic analysis are required in order to achieve an accurate characterization of such species. The chemical structures of alkaloids are extremely variable even within the same species, which is why the genetic approach may lead to a more scientific Papaver sp. differentiation. The aim of our study was the taxonomic identification of poppy capsules seized by the Italian Police Forces being considered as potential P. somniferum derivatives. Methods: The alkaloids detected using gas chromatography/mass-spectrometry (GC/MS) were morphine, codeine, thebaine, noscapine, meconin, hydrocotarnine, and traces of papaverine. Further genetic analysis was carried out simulta-neously using three plastid DNA barcoding regions (matK, trnH-psbA, and rbcL) for the samples’ identification. Results: The Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) method showed that the analysed samples were genetically identical. Conclusions: The morphological, toxicological, and genetic profile of the samples revealed that they belonged to P. somniferum species. Furthermore, the alkaloid content of dried poppy capsules might be used to investigate and track their origin.
Pubblicato
Rilevanza internazionale
Articolo
Esperti anonimi
Settore BIO/01
English
DNA barcoding
forensic toxicology
GC-MS
genetic analysis
opium poppy
Papaver somniferum L.
RAPD
specie identification
Tittarelli, R., Gismondi, A., Di Marco, G., Mineo, F., Vernich, F., Russo, C., et al. (2022). Forensic Application of Genetic and Toxicological Analyses for the Identification and Characterization of the Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum L.). BIOLOGY, 11(5), 672 [10.3390/biology11050672].
Tittarelli, R; Gismondi, A; Di Marco, G; Mineo, F; Vernich, F; Russo, C; Marsella, Lt; Canini, A
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2108/302489
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