"For the past year we have been talking about how to boost the immune system with plant phytonutrients and how this can present new opportunities for farmers, particularly if plant pharmaceuticals can be extracted from plants grown in a controlled environment," says Janet Colston with Urban AgNews.
With an increased knowledge of downstream processing, farmers could learn to take advantage of plant pharmaceutical power quickly and naturally and boost their market share.
More than half our medicines come from plants
She continues, if more than half of our drugs originated from plants, it should be possible to select which plants display bioactivity using artificial intelligence and machine learning to extract bioactive molecules and reduce the time to create natural plant-based drugs. This is already happening with high throughput screening of secondary metabolites from plants. Alternatively, farmers can use this knowledge to market the whole plant entourage effects which lead to positive health benefits.
As we begin to understand more about disease pathways there is mounting evidence that plant phytonutrients may unlock new applications through a better understanding of molecular biology and clinical trials. Examples of this include new applications for forskolin from Coleus forskohlii and phytochemicals from Stephania glabra, which are being rediscovered as adenylate cyclase and nitric oxide activators, potentially opening new ways to treat obesity and atherosclerosis.
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