Biosynthesis of ergot alkaloids is discussed from the standpoint of biosynthetic precursors and intermediates as well as known biosynthetic mechanisms. Emphasis is given to work concerning regulation of alkaloid production, including the role of tryptophan as an inducer of alkaloid synthesis. A postulation is proposed to explain the significance of induction in terms of evolution and survival of the organism which also takes into account the finding that the biosynthesis of tryptophan is under regulatory control in the fungal strain which was investigated. Recent studies using protoplasts of ergot have also shown that endproduct regulation of alkaloid synthesis may be a significant phenomenon.

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