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Environmental Factors on Medicinal Plants

AK Mohiuddin


Plants are unrivaled in the natural world in both the number and complexity of secondary metabolites they produce, and the ubiquitous phenylpropanoids and the lineage-specific glucosinolates represent two such large and chemically diverse groups. Advances in genome-enabled biochemistry and metabolomic technologies have greatly increased the understanding of their metabolic networks in diverse plant species. There also has been some progress in elucidating the gene regulatory networks that are key to their synthesis, accumulation and function. Secondary metabolites have important defense and signaling roles, and they contribute to the overall quality of developing and ripening fruits. Especially, light conditions and temperature are demonstrated to have a prominent role on the composition of phenolic compounds. The present review focuses on the studies on mechanisms associated with the regulation of key secondary metabolites, mainly phenolic compounds, in various plants. are not only a useful array of natural products but also an important part of plant defense system against pathogenic attacks and environmental stresses. With remarkable biological activities, plant SMs are increasingly used as medicine ingredients and food additives for therapeutic, aromatic and culinary purposes. Various genetic, ontogenic, morphogenetic and environmental factors can influence the biosynthesis and accumulation of SMs. According to the literature reports, for example, SMs accumulation is strongly dependent on a variety of environmental factors such as light, temperature, soil water, soil fertility and salinity, and for most plants, a change in an individual factor may alter the content of SMs even if other factors remain constant. Here, we review with emphasis how each of single factors to affect the accumulation of plant secondary metabolites, and conduct a comparative analysis of relevant natural products in the stressed and unstressed plants. Expectantly, this documentary review will outline a general picture of environmental factors responsible for fluctuation in plant SMs, provide a practical way to obtain consistent quality and high quantity of bioactive compounds in vegetation, and present some suggestions for future research and development.


Medicinal Plants; Organic Compounds; Secondary Metabolite; Biosynthesis


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