Plant-based bioactive compounds for medical and agrochemical applications
A new strategy to identify a specific class of plant compounds – known as triterpenes – aims to help advance science in several ways. New findings appear quite promising for the development and commercialisation of agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals based on those compounds.
Science is continually screening low-molecular-weight compounds from a plethora of synthetic and natural sources in the search for molecules with novel or superior pharmaceutical or biological activities. While plants are a potentially rich source of such molecules, plant metabolism is still under-explored (due to extreme diversity and complex chemistry), and the full potential of plant-derived, low-molecular weight, bioactive compounds is still largely untapped.
“We’ve focused on screening for biologically active triterpenoids with insecticidal and fungicidal potential for agrochemical applications, as well as for drug medicinal targets to treat cancer, inflammation, obesity, diabetes, and HIV-1 infection” underlines Søren Bak, Professor at Department of Plant and Environmental Science at University of Copenhagen. “Most of the extracts could be made available for other European researchers,” he adds.