The plant kingdom offers a vast largely untapped source of a wide diversity of organic compounds, potentially useful in medicine. With the advent of powerful spectroscopic techniques and improved separation procedures it is now possible to elucidate the structures of compounds isolated in sub-milligram quantities. There has accordingly been a significant increase in the number of new compounds reported in the literature during the last decade. However, efforts at bioassay-directed fractionation of plant extracts have lagged behind, largely due to the absence of pharmacological screens in most laboratories involved in phytochemical researches. The present volume contains contributions from a number of leading natural product chemists. The syntheses of the avermectin-milbemycin family of antiparasitic agents, macrolide antibiotics, beta-lactam antibiotics, beta-methylcarbapenem derivatives, taxane diterpenes and tumour-promoting diterpenes, indolizidines and indol(2,3-a)carbazole alkaloids, 2-amino alcohols are described. Moreover, one contribution deals with the generation of cationic and radical intermediates for synthesis of natural products. Volume 12, containing in-depth reviews by eminent exponents of the art of organic synthesis, will no doubt generate the same interest and excitement as other previous volumes of this series.
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