The annual value of bulk steroids produced in the
In medicine corticoids are perhaps more widely used than steroids of other types. They are used particularly in rheumatic diseases, in inflammatory conditions of the skin, and in allergic conditions. Other uses are in menstrual irregularities, menopouse, and control of fertility and conception. There are many other indications for the use of steroids in medicine; in renal and cardiovascular diseases, in certain types of cancer, and in various types of stress reaction.
Outline of synthesis from soya, which contains the steroid nucleus:
Crude soya sterols -----> stigmasterol ------> progesterone
Progesterone is converted in high yield to the key for most of these sequences, 11-α-hydroxyprogesterone, by aerobic fermentation with a mold, such as Rhizopus arrhizus. Another fermentation step which enters into the synthesis of Medrol, Alphadrol. Oxylone, and other steroids, which have a double bend between C1 and C2 is dehydrogenation with a Septomyxa species. The folowing chart depicts briefly the various direction in which the key intermediate may be carried.
Other commercial processes for steroid hormone syntheses are based on bile acid and the plant steroid diosgenin from a Mexican yam.