Vegetable Tannins

  • E. Haslam
Part of the Recent Advances in Phytochemistry book series (RAPT, volume 12)


The desire to understand the chemical composition of living matter was undoubtedly the most significant stimulus to the very early development of organic chemistry in the 18th century. Since that time the subject has been transformed in many ways and perhaps the most significant manifestation of these changes has been the remarkable growth of the organic chemical industry and the part which it now plays in the life of man in the twentieth century. Interest nevertheless still continues to focus upon natural products. What has changed in all these years is the realisation by the natural product chemist that isolation, structure and even synthesis of new natural principles are mere prologue. The drama does not unfold until one begins to consider the place and the role which these “children of nature” have in living systems. For many of those engaged in fields of chemical investigation of nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, their contributions form an integral part of work which unravels at an increasing pace the mysteries of nature; structure and function have an immediate and significant relationship to biological activity. For others, and particularly those concerned with many of the distinctive secondary plant products such as terpenes, alkaloids and polyphenols, such an intellectual satisfaction does not yet exist. There have been diverse speculations concerning the role of many of these metabolites in the life of the plant but with few exceptions the function of the majority has remained obscure. It is a major question in plant biochemistry which remains to be answered.


Condensed Tannin Hydrolysable Tannin Galloyl Group Chebulic Acid Witch Hazel 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Haslam
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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