Induction of secondary metabolism


Induction of secondary metabolism

The induction of secondary metabolism is linked to particular environmental conditions or developmental stages. For example, when grown in a nutrient-rich medium, most bacteria employ almost solely basic metabolism in order to grow and reproduce. However, when nutrients are depleted, they start producing an array of secondary metabolites in order to promote survival.

Plants produce secondary metabolites as a response to adverse environmental conditions or in particular developmental stages. For example, exposure to UV radiation induces the biosynthesis of UV-absorbing compounds.

Biomining is the process of seeking organisms for the purpose of exploiting their natural products for drug or other technological development directly, or as an inspiration for unnatural products. This will concern secondary metabolites in plant s, bacteria, fungi and many marine organisms (sponges, tunicates, corals, snails). In some cases, higher organisms will host a microorganism which is the actual producer of the product in question, as part of a symbiotic relationship. Most of the secondary metabolites of interest to man fit into the following categories, some fall in more than one.

Last modified: Saturday, 28 January 2012, 5:59 AM