Natural products are in the form of primary and secondary metabolites and are isolated chemical compounds or substances from living organisms. Terpenes, Phenolic compounds, and Nitrogen-containing compounds are secondary metabolites. The biosyntheses of secondary metabolites are derived from primary metabolism pathways, which consist of a tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA), methylerythritol phosphate pathway (MEP), mevalonic and shikimic acid pathway. This chapter provides an overview of the diversity of secondary metabolites in plants, their multiple biological functions, and multi-faceted cultural history.
Part of the book: Bioactive Compounds
Natural products are substances that are confined from living organisms, they are in the form of primary or secondary metabolites. Secondary metabolites are compounds with varied chemical structures, produced by some plants and strains of microbial species. Unlike primary metabolites (nucleotides, amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids) that are essential for growth, secondary metabolites are not. Secondary metabolites are produced or synthesized during the stationary stage. In this chapter, we will discuss secondary metabolites from natural products synthesized mainly by plants, fungi, and bacteria. Plants synthesize a large diversity of secondary metabolites; plant secondary metabolites are split into four groups namely alkaloids, phenolic compounds, terpenoids, and glucosinolates. Several classes of fungal and bacterial secondary metabolites, their sources, and pharmacological uses associated with the secondary metabolites are also discussed. Therefore, several classes of secondary metabolites are responsible for the biological and pharmacological activities of plants and herbal medicines.
Part of the book: Secondary Metabolites