Phenolics in the Environment

  • Tony Swain
Part of the Recent Advances in Phytochemistry book series (RAPT, volume 12)


Over the past ten years a subtle change has taken place in the attitude of natural products chemists, ecologists and even taxonomists as to the importance of the so-called secondary plant compounds. Previously, these substances were regarded as providing a challenge only to organic chemists interested in structural elucidation or biosynthetic speculation, but otherwise were thought of as waste products of plant metabolism which might be of limited taxonomic use. Now the majority of workers in these and cognate fields believe that at least a few of these compounds are of direct importance in determining certain interactions between plants and other organisms in a given ecosystem. The gradual acceptance of this new paradigm can be ascribed to the dedicated and far-sighted efforts of a handful of scientists, Dethier, Feeny, Fraenkel, Janzen, Schoonhoven and Whittaker. Many others have made important contributions20, 23, 47, 57which have reinforced and extended the ideas of these pioneers, so that it is now possible to enunciate general theories of plant-animal16, 17, 44and plant-pathogen19interactions based, on chemical grounds.


Humic Acid Ferulic Acid Cinnamic Acid Condensed Tannin Hydroxy Cinnamic Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Swain
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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