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Discovery of Novel Natural Products with Therapeutic Potential by Vincent P. Gullo

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CHAPTER 4

The Discovery of Drugs from Higher Plants

A. Douglas Kinghorn

Publisher Summary

This chapter describes the discovery of drugs from higher plants. Plant secondary metabolites, unlike their precursor primary metabolites, such as fatty acids and amino acids, do not have any apparent metabolic functions, and are of restricted taxonomic distribution. The major role for plant secondary metabolites appears to be ecological and therefore, they are produced in the correct chiral form to serve such functions as chemical defenses against insects, microorganisms, and other predators, or as pollinator attractants. Secondary metabolites tend to be biosynthesized in specialized cell types, at only some of the life stages of the plant, and usually ...

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