The course will introduce students to the use of plant-derived products and will provide explanations regarding the use of plants and their derivatives in various pharmaceutical sale segments: pharmeceuticals, drugs, nutritional and food supplements, herbal or cosmetics products. In particular the relationship between plant secondary metabolism, the structure and organization of the plants, the production of drugs and other bioactives of natural origin will be deepened.
Course contents summary
The course is organized in a general and a monographic section. In the first, the following topics will be covered:
- Plants in drug-discovery: ecological and evolutionary explanations.
- Relationship between organography (root, stem, leaf, flower, fruit), histology, cytology and biosynthesis/accumulation of secondary metabolites, including the role of secretion and storage structures.
-Active ingredients and key substances of medicinal plants (essential oils, alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, gums, mucilage, resins, gum resins, oleoresins) and their meaning physiological and ecological meaning.
- Factors affecting biosynthesis and content of secondary metabolites of pharmaceutical value, including biotic, abiotic, natural, artificial factors and consequences the translation from plants to drugs.
- Quality control: morphological and microscopic examination of drugs, genetic analysis, chemical analysis.
- Definition of food supplement, medical device, drug and cosmetic product. Relevant information in their packages and their connection with previous notions.
The monographic section will provide key botanical, processing and phytochemical details on a number of plants used in pharmaceuticals, food supplements, in cosmetics and toiletries.
Assessment methods and criteria
The final exam (oral) will cover all the topics of the program; it will be preceded by a written entrance exam. The student will be asked to demonstrate its capability to use the basic concepts of each topic.