Explosive growth of modern biology in recent times has created a new awareness in the unlimited biotechnical potential of natural products. Plants are genetically controlled nature’s chemical factoryand has been a source of useful products since antiquity. Despite ofdevelopments of modern techniques such as molecular modeling, combinatorial chemistry and synthetic methods, natural products and particularly medicinal plants, still remains an important source of new drugs or drug leads.The key to the success of discovering naturally occurring therapeutic agents rests on bioassay-guided fractionation and purification procedures. To meet the challenging resource needs of ever increasing populations, it is necessary to revitalize the investigation of natural products which would expand our resource base.
Contributions from natural product researchmay yield social and economic growth to society and also benefit to individuals, organizations and nation as well.
Natural products Research involves the study of chemicals produced in plants, and this study involvesextraction, purification, identification and structure determination.Differential solvent extractions ( hot or cold) are the most common procedure. Further separation is carried out by column chromatography,centrifugalchromatography,gel filtration chromatography,selective precipitation techniques etc. Isolated fractions are screened for relevant bioassays and the active fractions are analyzed using chemical and spectroscopic techniques. Purified and identified samples are subjected to biological investigations such as antioxidant activity, nitric oxide assay, DNA protection, tyrosinaseinhibiton and other in house bioassay studies such as anti cancer, antidiabetic, wound healing, etc
- Bioprospection of indigenous flora- with special reference to Kerala (phytoecdysoids-nutraceutical,sericulture biotechnology, wound healing).
- Value addition to unutilized / underutilized plants: (bioactives from sea buckthorn- flavonoids, ursolic acid, carotenoids, kinase inhibitors, glut4 modulators, anacardic acids).
- Synthesis of bioactive natural products (antioxidants, antitumour, kinase inhibitors, neuroprotectants).
- Human resource development(advanced training in phytochemistry to students, research scholars, visiting fellows).