Fruits of the Forest: Exploring Australia's Tropical Rainforests for New Pharmaceuticals and Industrial Chemicals
Paul Reddell and Victoria Gordon
Many of the chemicals on which our healthcare and agriculture rely originate from "leads" provided by nature. For example, approximately one in four prescription drugs used in the developed world are derived from tropical plants. However, a major limitation to the discovery of new chemicals from nature is the enormity of the tasking using current approaches which are largely random, time consuming, and costly. Recently we have developed a powerful new approach to discovery of "bioactive" chemicals based on our knowledge of the ecology of Australia's tropical rainforests. This approach very effectively targets sources of bioactive chemicals in nature and is helping us unlock the very rich, but largely untapped, chemical diversity of our tropical forests. In this presentation, we illustrate this approach with an example from our work on chemical defences in fruits and seeds of Queensland rainforest plants.
There are more than 1800 species of flowering plants in Australia's humid tropics and
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