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Plant Secondary Metabolites: Their Food and Therapeutic Importance

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Plant Secondary Metabolites

Abstract

Plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) are produced in the form of phytochemicals in various plant parts as a natural defense system against attack of various microorganisms and environmental stresses. The role of these compounds is beyond providing protection, as they are linked to many biochemical pathways inside and outside the plants and possess various well-known therapeutic applications. The extraordinary biological activities of plant secondary metabolites lead to their extensive use as an ingredient in medicines and for therapeutic and other culinary purposes since ages. The minimum effective concentration and effect (positive or negative) of plant secondary metabolites on particular metabolic pathways are the concerns which are still under a trial phase. They occur in very minute quantities within the plant cells, while the purity issues have resulted in manufacturing of their chemical derivatives and their industrial applications as well. Environmental, morphogenetic, and genetic factors and ultimately the processing affect the biosynthesis and the concentration of these PSM present. However, the plants are always in contact with changing conditions of light, water, temperature, pH, insect pest infestation, etc. which may adversely affect the accumulation of secondary metabolites. The present chapter has been compiled to give the readers an in-hand information about the plant secondary metabolites with primary objective of their food and functional repute. The overall contents will focus on broad classification of PSMs, various methods adopted for their extraction with their potential advantages and disadvantages, and effect of various methods of food processing on the bioavailability and bioactivity of the PSMs with proposed future research opportunities in their potential therapeutic applications.

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Kumar, S., Saini, R., Suthar, P., Kumar, V., Sharma, R. (2022). Plant Secondary Metabolites: Their Food and Therapeutic Importance. In: Sharma, A.K., Sharma, A. (eds) Plant Secondary Metabolites. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-4779-6_12

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