Antioxidants in Higher Plants provides a unique blend of molecular and biochemical approaches to cover the state of the art in antioxidant function. The chemistry and protective potential of sulfhydryl and hydroxyl compounds are emphasized. Interesting perspectives are presented regarding the response of antioxidant metabolism to interactions among environmental pollutants, illumination, temperature, and water availability. The book also discusses how tools of molecular biology may further clarify antioxidant function and response to stress. Antioxidants in Higher Plants will be an excellent reference for plant physiologists, biochemists, molecular biologists, ecologists, and students.
Herbs and herbal products are of paramount importance for human health. To beable to guarantee safety and quality, standards and testing methods are needed.Pharmacopoeias contain quality control protocols setting the standards which arethen required by governments. The quality traits are many, including the intrinsicvariables of medicinal plant, e.g. the levels of the active compounds, and the absenceof possibly natural occurring toxic compounds. On the other hand, many qualitytraits are related to agricultural conditions and practices, or to the harvesting andpost-harvest processing. With so many variables, quality control of the end productbecomes extremely complex, time consuming and costly. To ensure the quality ofmedicinal plants for human consumption quality management -the use of “goodpractices” at each step, from seed to final product- becomes a crucial aspect. In general, quality control includes the inspection of the product’s identity, purity,and content, based on its physical, chemical or biological properties. To ensure thequality of herbal medications, criteria such as botanical quality, type of preparation,physical constants, adulteration, contaminants, chemical constituents, pesticidesresidues et al. should be examined. Meanwhile, authentication of herbs is neededto avoid possible adulteration or contaminating plants, even toxic herbs such asAristolochia species. Many of the methods are long standing, such as microscopy incombination with color reactions, but some 50 years ago chromatography developedas a major tool for both qualitative and quantitative analysis of herbal preparations.Nowadays, research is working on the improvement of these methods and on thedevelopment of novel tools. For instance, next generation sequencing and mass spectrometry imaging, areemerging as new technologies for the quality control of herbal medicines. Withthese technologies, quick testing of herbal products and of mixed herbal powderpreparations, including the testing for specific plant parts (botanical drugs), can beachieved. Also, novel chemical tools such as metabolomics and Near Infrared Red(NIR) spectroscopy are being developed as powerful tools to identify and to linkthese with activity by using chemometric tools such as multivariate analysis. Finally,progress of informatic tools such as machine learning helps to deal with the big datagenerated by sequencing or mass spectrometry. However, these new technologies,like all other new born technologies, should be tested and perfected for a broaderrange of products.