Plant secondary metabolites have been a fertile area of chemical investigation for many years, driving the development of both analytical chemistry and of new synthetic reactions and methodologies. The subject is multi-disciplinary with chemists, biochemists and plant scientists all contributing to our current understanding. In recent years there has been an upsurge in interest from other disciplines, related to the realisation that secondary metabolites are dietary components that may have a considerable impact on human health, and to the development of gene technology that permits modulation of the contents of desirable and undesirable components.
Plant Secondary Metabolites: Occurrence, Structure and Role in the Human Diet addresses this wider interest by covering the main groups of natural products from a chemical and biosynthetic perspective with illustrations of how genetic engineering can be applied to manipulate levels of secondary metabolites of economic value as well as those of potential importance in diet and health. These descriptive chapters are augmented by chapters showing where these products are found in the diet, how they are metabolised and reviewing the evidence for their beneficial bioactivity.