A Brief Introduction to Natural Compounds
Posted: Jan 17, 2018
The past decade has seen an increasing demand and recognition for natural stuff, such as cosmetics, dietary supplements, and foods produced from natural sources without added artificial ingredients. Natural products, regardless of their application fields, will receive warm applause from the public as long as they occurred in a natural way.
What are natural compounds?
However, in the field of chemistry, natural products can also be obtained by chemical synthesis. Out of consideration for this, the definition of natural products, therefore, is usually restricted to purified organic compounds isolated from natural sources. For instance, Quercetin-3-O-[2-O-(6-O-p-hydroxyl-E-coumaroyl)-D-glucosyl]-(1-2)-L-rhamnoside is a flavonoid compound isolated from Ginkgo biloba L. Also, Ginsenoside Rd is a natural triterpenoid compound found in the roots of Panax ginseng C. A. Mey.
Natural compounds are produced by the pathways of secondary metabolism. Secondary metabolites are not essential for survival (in case you are not familiar with this term), but nevertheless provide an evolutionary advantage for living beings.
Benefits of natural compounds
What makes natural compounds different from other synthetic compounds is their therapeutic benefits. Since ancient times they have presented themselves in traditional medicines for treating various diseases. As we enter the new millennium, there are greater demand for knowledge to derive active components as lead compounds for drug discovery.
Although natural products have made contributions in giving birth to numerous U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs, they have received declining attention from pharmaceutical companies in regard to drug discovery. The possible reasons may partly include:
Unreliable access and supply,
Intellectual property concerns,
Seasonal or environmental variability of composition,
Loss of sources due to rising extinction rates.
Limited access and supply do pose a great problem for those pharmaceutical companies with interest for applying natural compounds in drug discovery. So where can you find exactly what you want? We recommend two libraries here. Note: this is only for informational purpose.
Developmental Therapeutics Program
Initiated by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, this program houses one of world’s most comprehensive collections of natural products. Altogether, there are more than 230,000 crude extracts from plant, marine and microbial sources from countries around the world. At this library, you can easily find over 400 purified natural product compounds as well. In addition, this library also claims to be include many traditional Chinese medicinal plant extracts. What worth mention here is that there is no cost for materials. Only shipping fee is charged. So this might be a good choice for you if you have a limited budget.
Natural Compound Library (By InterBioScreen)
At Natural Compound Library, you can find various types of alkaloids, terpenoids, flavonoids and coumarins, peptides, glycosides and nucleosides, phenol compounds, etc. For those looking for rare and unusual compounds, you may try this library as it claims to offer various classes of phytoalexins, allelopathic agents, natural toxins, unusual sesquiterpenoids and other secondary metabolites.
The author is a true follower of biochemistry. BOC Sciences, the company he works for, is a trustworthy supplier of inhibitors.