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Alkaloids pp 301-326 | Cite as

Modes of Action of Alkaloids

  • Michael Wink

Abstract

We can safely assume that most alkaloids play an important role in the ecology of plants. In general, alkaloids serve as defense chemicals against herbivores and to a lesser degree against bacteria, fungi, and viruses or provide a means of interaction with other plants (see Chapters 13 and 14). A protective function has also been attributed to those alkaloids that are produced or sequestered by animals (see Chapters 15 and 16). In order to fulfill this function, alkaloids must closely interact with specific targets in herbivores, predators, microorganisms, or competing plants, i.e., they must either inhibit or otherwise deregulate important processes that are vital for these organisms. A thorough understanding of how these capabilities are effected is important for a comprehension of the evolutionary and ecological implications of alkaloids and their rational use in medicine or as natural pesticides in agriculture.

Keywords

Ergot Alkaloid Aristolochic Acid Pyrrolizidine Alkaloid Tropane Alkaloid Steroidal Alkaloid 
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

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Wink
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Pharmaceutical BiologyUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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