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Friedrich Serturner. Portrait of Friedrich Wilhelm Serturner (1783-1841), German pharmacist and morphine pioneer. After being apprenticed to an apothecary, Serturner opened his own pharmacy in 1809. In 1816 he extracted a crystalline form of morphine, the active component of the drug opium, using acids. After tests on mice, dogs, himself and his friends he showed that morphine gave more reproducible effects than opium as a painkiller. He also showed that it was alkaline; it had previously been thought that all medical plant extracts were acidic. Morphine was the first such alkaloid drug to be extracted and led to a search for similar physiologically-potent drugs.
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