EU Projects


"Development and implementation of an innovative technology for in vitro production of high quality seedlings of Leucojum aestivum L. (spring snowflake) - an important medicinal and ornamental plant."


Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, Measure 16 "Cooperation"


The objective of the operation is to develop and implement an innovative technology for in vitro production of high quality planting material of Leucojum aestivum L. for the pharmaceutical and horticultural industries. This will be achieved through the implementation of industrial research, development work and investment activities.


Leucojum is a valuable source of the Amaryllidaceae alkaloids galantamine and lycorine. Currently, galantamine is used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Lycorine, on the other hand, is under clinical trials for cancer control. The original source of galantamine was plants growing in natural sites. Overexploitation of the plants has led to their partial destruction. Today, the Leucojum is under species protection. However, galantamine is obtained by chemical synthesis and extraction from plants, originating from plantations. However, these methods are economically unviable and inefficient. Summer snowberry is also used as an ornamental plant in urban green areas, home gardens and also for cut flowers. The productivity of conventional ways of propagating spring snowflake is low and time-consuming. With the ever-increasing demand for Leucojum/galantamine, it is imperative to seek alternative methods of producing high-quality seedlings.

The implemented project is a response to current demand in the pharmaceutical industry and modern trends in horticultural production. The project will result in both a process innovation, i.e. a Leucojum propagation technology based on the use of in vitro cultures, and a product innovation seedlings characterised by high galantamine and lycorine content.

The following activities will be undertaken as part of the operation: modernisation of the Vitroflora laboratory, construction of a bioreactor dedicated to the mass propagation of the Leucojum, optimisation of plant growth, bulb formation, galantamine and lycorine biosynthesis in vitro, and acclimatisation of micro-cuttings to ex vitro conditions.

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