Plant Secondary Metabolites: From Diseases to Health
Pp. 3-23 (21)
Rakesh Yadav, Pooja Arora and Ashok Chaudhury
Plant-derived medicines constitute a significant component of today’s human healthcare systems
in industrialized as well as developing countries. Plants are capable of synthesizing a huge variety of small
organic molecules, called secondary metabolites, usually composed of very complex and unique carbon
skeleton structures. The abundance and diversity of secondary metabolites are coupled with wide
pharmaceutical, therapeutic and medicinal values. Most of the plant derived biomedicines are widely used
for recreation and stimulation (the alkaloids nicotine and cocaine; the terpene cannabinol) purposes.
Considerable progress has been made in the technology of large-scale plant cell culture for the industrial
production of plant-derived fine chemicals. Keeping in view of the huge world market for plant secondary
metabolites, it is a challenge for biotechnologists to find techniques to produce these compounds in
sufficient quantity and quality. Biotechnological intervention through micropropagation, biotransformation,
and metabolic engineering can make the process quite profitable to exploit the productive potential of living
cells for the production of bioactive compounds. Therefore, the increasing global demand for biomedicines
can only be achieved by application of biotechnological approaches.
Secondary metabolites, biomedicines, metabolic engineering, medicinal plants.
Department of Bio and Nano Technology, Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, Hisar-125001 (Haryana), India