Connections between Agrochemicals and Pharmaceuticals
ABSTRACT Antibiotics, antineoplastics, herbicides, and insecticides often originate from plant and microbial defense mechanisms. Secondary metabolites, once considered unimportant products, are now thought to mediate plant defense mechanisms by providing chemical barriers against animal and microbial predators. This chemical warfare between plants and their pathogens consistently provides new natural product leads. Whether one studies toxins, herbicides, or pharmaceuticals, chemical compounds follow basic rules of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Chemical properties of a molecule dictate its cellular and physiological responses, and organisms will act to modulate those chemical responses. Discovery and development of new biologically derived and environmentally friendly chemicals are being aggressively pursued by leading chemical and pharmaceutical companies. Future successful development and approval of these new chemicals will require knowledge of their common mechanisms in toxicology and pharmacology regardless of their applications to plants or animals.