Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims at teaching the basic functional aspects of plant organisms, with an emphasis on the systems of production and accumulation of primary and secondary metabolites of pharmaceutical interest, widely used both as active ingredients and as excipients. From this standpoint, the course aims to provide the key to understand the ecophysiological rationale behind the role of plant secondary metabolites in drug discovery.
Course contents summary
- The role of plant secondary metabolism in drug-discovery.
The rationale behind the presence of bioactive molecules in plants. The relevance of plant secondary metabolism as a scaffold for pharmaceutical compounds of direct use or as hemisynthetic precursors.
- Morphogenesis and plant secondary metabolism plant.
Autotrophic and heterotrophic organisms. Cytology: the prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell structure , the cellular organization, the physiological and ecological role of its components. The plant cell as a laboratory for the production of compounds of pharmaceutical releance: biological (primary and secondary metabolism). Unique plant cell structures (vacuoles, plastids, wall) and their biological function and relapses on pharmaceutical uses. Histology: meristematic tissues, adult and definitive tissues. Structures devoted to the secretion and accumulation of plant secondary metabolites. Histological anatomy of roots, stems (in primary and secondary structure) and leaves, with examples functional to the obtention of herbal drugs. Organography of leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds and its role in the accumulation of primary and secondary metabolites. Asexual and gamic reproduction. Pharmaceutical relevance of plant tissues in recognition of plants, in quality control and in the production and accumulation of the active ingredients. The variability of plant secondary metabolism in relation to physiological and ecological factors and the impact on pharmaceutical use of plant derivatives.
- Plant Systematics.
Fundamentals of plant systematics: species concepts, taxonomic groups, and methods in
systematic nomenclature, basics of chemosystematics. Main families of food, medicinal and poisonous plants.
Bruni et al., Biologia Farmaceutica-Biologia vegetale, botanica farmaceutica, fitochimica, Ed. Pearson, 2014.
Assessment methods and criteria
The final exam (oral) will cover all the topics of the program. The student will be asked to demonstrate its capability to use the basic concepts of each topic.