Plant secondary metabolites are synthesized for their protection and regulation purposes. Quite often, due to their properties, these metabolites have relevant organoleptic and biological properties and can play important roles in human health and general well-being. A relevant case study in this context is berries and flowers from Sambucus nigra L., which have been used for generations in folk medicine. Although those effects are mainly linked to phenolic compounds, mono and sesquiterpenic secondary metabolites may also play a key role. Despite their potential, S. nigra mono and sesquiterpenic compounds are yet largely unexplored. Complex and dynamic external and internal plant-related phenomena deeply affect terpenes profile, as metabolism, abiotic and biotic stresses, and understanding these phenomena is the first step for S. nigra berries and flowers’ valuation. This chapter will cover aspects linked to elder plant uses, mono and sesquiterpenic composition, and the influence of preharvest and postharvest effects over these metabolites. This knowledge is crucial for scientists and industries to understand and improve the quality of S. nigra-based products.
Part of the book: Secondary Metabolites