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Have you ever wondered how plants grow without moving to look for food or reproduce? How can they defend themselves without speaking? Well, we have plant chemicals to thank for that. Plants are sessile, meaning they cannot move around. They must adapt to an environment that changes over time, such as dry conditions or heavy rains. Plants produce various chemicals as one of the many survival mechanisms they need to interact with the environment and grow. Understanding these chemical compounds can go a long way to comprehending how plants survive and how we can extract compounds to make medicine and healthier, tastier foods.

Plants produce chemicals for growth and interaction with the environment. 

 Imagine yourself buried in a hole from your legs down with an inability to move or talk. Sounds scary; that is how plants live every day of their lives. They produce chemicals known as metabolites to germinate, feed, reproduce, and even protect themselves. These tiny compounds are involved in proper plant growth and assist in interacting with plants with the environment. To better understand metabolites’ functions, they are classified into primary and specialized.

Primary metabolites mainly function in the growth of carbohydrates, which give plants energy to grow. On the other hand, specialized metabolites are unique to different plants and help in interaction. A good example of these specialized metabolites is glucosinolates. These are mostly found in the Brassicaceae family, like cabbages and broccoli. They are defense chemicals that defend plants from insects. For example, when insects feed on the leaves of cabbages, the plant produces toxins called glucosinolates that make the leaves unpleasant tasting, discouraging insects from eating them. To humans, however, these toxins give cabbages, broccoli, and radishes their characteristic taste. With time, insects develop tolerance to these toxic compounds. Therefore there is a continuous evolution of these specialized compounds— a reference substance work to extract and synthesize a reference substance from plants for further study and development.

Humans use chemicals from plants. 

With the evolution of science and the population increase, scientists need to study plants and their chemistry. Throughout history, plant chemicals have been used to make medicines, dyes, food, and cosmetics. Plants like Achillea millefolium from the yarrow flower are used for medicinal purposes to treat inflammation, pain, and gastrointestinal disorders. a botanical reference has a catalog of useful plant chemicals. Extrasynthese is a botanical reference and a herbal standard manufacturer. 

The bottom line is that chemicals found in plants are useful to the plants themselves and human beings. More studies can help man understand these chemicals and how they can be beneficial. Extrasynthese offers quality material to facilitate various studies.

Andy McGowan
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