2023 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Assessing Variation of Bioactive Alkaloids in Commercially Available Kratom Products

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Owen McDougal


Mitragyna speciosa, commonly known as Kratom, is a plant that has traditionally been used as an ethnopharmacological aid for stress relief, fatigue, and pain management in southeast Asian cultures. It has since been banned in regions where it grows, but has been widely adopted for use in western regions for its dose dependent effects such as stimulating effects in low doses, and opioid-like/sedative effects in higher doses. However, extensive Kratom use has shown to induce a variety of negative side-effects, despite being marketed as a safe alternative to traditional medicine. Commercially available Kratom in the U.S. is not currently regulated, meaning that there are also no regular quality control evaluations due to a lack of Kratom related research. Due to this lack of quality control evaluation, the hypothesis can be made that the concentrations of Kratom’s bioactive alkaloids vary among commercially available products. To test this, the concentrations of eight of Kratom’s known bioactive alkaloids will be investigated and analyzed via High Performance Liquid Chromatography to assess variation in commercially available Kratom products. The results of this study are intended to support current Kratom research and will be used to inform public health officials of the dangers of Kratom to reduce the detrimental and potentially lethal effects of extensive use.

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