Phytochemistry is the study of the chemistry of substances found in plants. Higher plants have evolved to produce a diverse range of low-molecular-weight compounds, described as secondary metabolites that can be used as food and feed additives, flavours, fragrances, cosmetics, agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. Over the last century plants’immense chemodiversity have producedan extraordinarily diverse range of such compounds and are increasingly providing leads for drug development and other applications. Phytochemical techniques and other relevant enabling technologies have also evolved and have made tremendous inroads into the fundamental understanding of the complex secondary metabolisms and biological functions of the compounds as well as their potential uses.
By definition, phytochemistry research encompasses all aspects of pure and applied plant chemistry, plant biochemistry, plant molecular biology and related interdisciplinary aspects. Currently, projects within the program at LHS focus mainly on the discovery of novel bioactive molecules from plants and other natural resources towards various therapeutic targets such as inflammation, cancer, diabetes mellitus and Alzheimers disease. Selected cell- and enzyme-based bioassays as well as zebrafish model assays are employed for biological activity screening while animal studies are pursued collaboratively with strategic partners. State-of-the-art chromatographic and spectroscopic technologies are the main enabling tools in the bioactivity-guided isolation and chemical characterisation of the secondary metabolites.
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Updated:: 26/09/2017 [azah]