Phytochemicals are substances produced mainly by plants, and these substances have biological activity. In the pharmaceutical industry, herbs are a major source of various active ingredients. They have pharmacological effects applicable to the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections, as well as to chronic degenerative diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Phytochemicals are a powerful group of chemicals derived from natural resources, particularly those of plant origin.
In the history of humanity, plants have always been present as a source of health. The knowledge of the various healing properties of plants has been transmitted in an empirical way. However, over time, man has been interested in knowing where the properties of plants come from. In the process of knowledge generation, man has developed many methodologies to know the structures of organic compounds responsible for the healing properties of plants. This is the birth of phytochemistry that is defined as the science responsible for the study of the compounds contained in plants. In this field, various techniques have been developed, ranging from the preparation of the plant tissue sample to sophisticated techniques for the elucidation of organic structures. The search for new products for the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries is an ongoing process that requires continual optimization.
The discipline whose main objective is the study of the chemical constituents of plants is Phytochemistry. The study of such compounds includes: their chemical structures, metabolism (biosynthesis and degradation), natural distribution, biological function, extraction and qualitative-quantitative evaluation.
Phytochemical research of a plant includes several aspects:
Extraction of the compounds to be analyzed from a sample or specimen.
– Separation and isolation of them.
– Identification and/or characterization of the isolated compounds.
– Investigation of the biosynthetic routes of a certain molecule.
– Determination or quantitative assessment.
One of the companies that deals with this is Extrasynthese. Company manufacture, qualify and sell phytochemical substances as reference materials and analytical standards on a worldwide basis. For 30 years they have been experts in extraction, separation, purification and analytical technologies from which we have developped a more than 1000 substances catalog we supply to all academic, regulatory, agricultural and industrial bodies dealing with plants and herbal products. Highly purified reference substances all used in research, development, regulatory and testing activities in fields like biology, metabolomics, agronomy, crop protection, nutrition, nutraceuticals, food and feed, flavor and fragrance, cosmetics, healthcare, pharmaceuticals. From year to year improving technologies and complete catalog of anthocyanins, flavonoids, coumarins and other phenylpropanoids, polyphenols, carotenoids, terpenes and saponins, alkaloids, lipids like phytosterols or tocopherols, oligosaccharides.