The Approach

This book establishes a groundwork in natural product chemistry/phytochemistry by considering biosynthesis - the metabolic sequences leading to various selected classes of natural products. This allows application of fundamental chemical principles and shows the relationships between the diverse structures encountered in nature, thus giving a rationale for natural products and replacing the traditional descriptive approach with one based more on deductive reasoning. Subdivision of the topics is predominantly via biosynthesis, not class or activity, and this provides a logical sequence of structural types and avoids a catalogue effect. There is extensive use of chemical schemes and mechanism, with detailed mechanistic explanations being annotated to the schemes, as well as outline discussions in the text. Extensive cross-referencing is used to emphasize links and similarities. As important classes of compounds or drugs (indicated by an asterisk) are reached, more detailed information is then provided in the form of short separate monographs in boxes, which can be studied or omitted as required, in the latter case allowing the main theme to continue. The monograph information covers sources, production methods, principal components, drug use, mode of action, semi-synthetic derivatives, synthetic analogues, etc, as appropriate. Those materials currently employed as drugs are emphasized in the monographs by the use of bold type.

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