Animals as a Source of Drugs: Bioprospecting and Biodiversity Conservation

  • Rômulo Romeu Nóbrega Alves
  • Ulysses Paulino Albuquerque


Plants and animals are undoubtedly the basis of many traditional medicine systems around the world. Although the pharmacological potential of animals used as medicines has been little explored, compared to plants, available studies show that animal natural resources are highly promising in the search for new drugs of medical or pharmaceutical interest. The exploitation of these resources, however, requires a careful strategy that allows the sustainability of the species exploited, since the exploitation of fauna in medicinal bioprospecting can result in overharvesting of target organisms. In view of this reality, economic development associated with animal bioprospecting should be preceded by a broad discussion of the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable management of natural resources. In this chapter, we review the literature on the potential of animal-based medicines for developing new drugs, and briefly discuss the implications of bioprospecting for the conservation of these bioresources.


Traditional Medicine Musk Deer Marine Natural Product Pharmacological Potential Stag Beetle 
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-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rômulo Romeu Nóbrega Alves
    • 1
  • Ulysses Paulino Albuquerque
    • 2
  1. 1.Ethnozoology, Conservation and Biodiversity Research Group, Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade Estadual da ParaíbaCampina GrandeBrazil
  2. 2.Applied Ethnobotany Laboratory, Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade Federal Rural de PernambucoDois IrmãosBrazil

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