Phytochemistry is in the strict sense of the word the study of phytochemicals. These are chemicals derived from plants. In a narrower sense the terms are often used to describe the large number of secondary metabolic compounds found in plants. Many of these are known to provide protection against insect attacks and plant diseases. They also exhibit a number of protective functions for human consumers.

Techniques commonly used in the field of phytochemistry are extraction, isolation and structural elucidation (MS,1D and 2D NMR) of natural products, as well as various chromatography techniques (MPLC, HPLC, LC-MS).

Constituent elements

The list of simple elements of which plants are primarily constructed—carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, calcium, phosphorus, etc.—is not different from similar lists for animals, fungi, or even bacteria. The fundamental atomic components of plants are the same as for all life; only the details of the way in which they are assembled differs.

The following tables list element nutrients essential to plants. Uses within plants are generalized.


Eastern medicine

Phytochemistry is widely used in the field of Chinese medicine especially in the field of herbal medicine.

Phytochemical technique mainly applies to the quality control of Chinese medicine or herbal medicine of various chemical components, such as saponins, alkaloids, volatile oils, flavonoids and anthraquinones. In the development of rapid and reproducible analytical techniques, the combination of HPLC with different detectors, such as diode array detector (DAD), refractive index detector (RID), evaporative light scattering detector (ELSD) and mass spectrometric detector (MSD), has been widely developed.

In most cases, biologically active compounds in Chinese medicine or herbal medicine have not been determined. Therefore, it is important to use the phytochemical methods to screen and analyze bioactive components, not only for the quality control of crude drugs, but also for the elucidation of their therapeutic mechanisms. Modern pharmacological studies indicate that binding to receptors or ion channels on cell membranes is the first step of some drug actions. A new method in phytochemistry called biochromatography has been developed. This method combines human red cell membrane extraction and high performance liquid chromatography to screen potential active components in Chinese medicine.

ee also

*Plant nutrition


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Phytochemistry — Phy to*chem is*try, n. [Phyto + chemistry.] Chemistry in its relation to vegetable bodies; vegetable chemistry. R. Hunt. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • phytochemistry — [fīt΄ōkem′is trē] n. the branch of chemistry dealing with the chemical processes associated with plant life and the chemical compounds produced by plants …   English World dictionary

  • phytochemistry — noun a) The scientific study of the chemicals found in plants. The phytochemistry of mosses is very different from that of other plants. b) The collection of chemicals and chemical processes found in a particular plant. See Also: phytochemically …   Wiktionary

  • phytochemistry — fitochemija statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Chemijos šaka, nagrinėjanti augalų cheminę sudėtį ir juose vykstančias reakcijas. atitikmenys: angl. phytochemistry; plant chemistry rus. фитохимия …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • phytochemistry — noun Date: 1837 the chemistry of plants, plant processes, and plant products • phytochemist noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • phytochemistry — phytochemical /fuy teuh kem i keuhl/, adj. phytochemically, adv. phytochemist, n. /fuy teuh kem euh stree/, n. the branch of biochemistry dealing with plants and plant processes. [1830 40; PHYTO + CHEMISTRY] * * * …   Universalium

  • phytochemistry — The biochemical study of plants; concerned with the identification, biosynthesis, and metabolism of chemical constituents of plants; especially used in regard to natural products. * * * phy·to·chem·is·try kem ə strē n, pl tries the chemistry of… …   Medical dictionary

  • phytochemistry — noun the branch of chemistry concerned with plants and plant products. Derivatives phytochemist noun …   English new terms dictionary

  • phytochemistry —   Study of plant chemistry, particularly in relation to secondary metabolites …   Expanded glossary of Cycad terms

  • phytochemistry — phy·to·chemistry …   English syllables

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