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PHYTOCHEMICAL AND ANTIVENOM STUDIES ON THE STEM BARK OF ALBIZIA CHEVALIERI HAMS (MIMOSACEAE) ON NAJA NIGRICOLLIS BROADLEY ENVENOMATED MICE

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 Sep 22, 2022 |  03:19 pm |  6


PHYTOCHEMICAL AND ANTIVENOM STUDIES ON THE STEM BARK OF ALBIZIA CHEVALIERI HAMS (MIMOSACEAE) ON NAJA NIGRICOLLIS BROADLEY ENVENOMATED MICE


1.1 The Consciousness of Phytochemistry


In its entirety Phytochemistry or plant chemistry is ever now than before more activity conscious in the search for active pure plant compounds; as put by Harborne (1998, cited in Beattie, 2009), it is that aspect of science that ‗‗concerned itself with the enormous variety of organic  substances  that  are  elaborated  and  accumulated  by  plants  and  deals  with  the chemical structures of these substances, their biosynthesis, turnover and metabolism, their natural  distribution  and  their  biological  function’’.  The  sessile  nature  and  lack  of  a sophisticated immune system in plants has necessitated the need for the development of these complex  chemical  systems.  


Consequently,  the  compounds  produce  by  plants have  been categorized into primary and secondary metabolites. Compounds contributing to fundamental metabolism are termed primary metabolites while in contrast, secondary metabolites are limited in their distribution; both throughout the plant families and between different species (Raven et al., 2005).



Secondary   metabolites   were   once   thought   to   be   waste   compounds;   however,   our understanding of their importance in-plant and the role they play has expanded. It is been revealed that many of these secondary metabolites are potent bactericidal, repellent, or even toxic agents to pests and herbivores (Dewick, 1997, cited in Beattie, 2009). 


Some plant chemicals are relied on as a means of defence against pathogens and predators, as attractants to lure mobile creatures for fertilization and dissemination and also for aerial allelopathy (interplant communication) (Beattie, 2009). 


Volatile organic compounds and pigments are revealed to be attractive to insects that help with fertilization, or warning colours to defend against predators (Dewick, 1997), while other plant pigments can provide protection against environmental damage such as free radicals and UV radiation (Raven et al., 2005). However, some secondary products perform signalling functions as plant hormones and pheromones. 


Consequently,  natural  products  from  medicinal  plants,  either  as pure  compounds  or  as standardized extracts, provide unlimited opportunities for new drug leads because of the unmatched availability of chemical diversity (Chen et al., 2010).



Plants produce an array of secondary metabolites and many of these have been extracted, isolated and developed into economically important products including; oils, gums, resins, tannins, rubber, waxes, pigments, flavours, fragrances, surfactants, preservatives, pesticides and pharmaceuticals (Raven et al., 2005). 


Thus, plant secondary metabolites represent a tremendous  resource  for  commerce. Phytochemists  would  therefore  continue  to  play  a fundamental role in the chemical investigation of these plants. 


Phytochemical studies may be directed towards characterizing the chemical composition of complex essential oils or plant extracts. Phytochemical screening can assist taxonomic classification while bioassay guided studies can target  and identify biologically active compounds  in  complex  plant extracts (Harborne,  1998).  


Such  is  the  task  of  this  research;  to  explore  and  isolate  bioactive compounds from Albizia chevalieri on the basis of ethnobotanical information and earlier empirical research on same, which recorded a significant hypoglycaemic effect (Saidu et al., 2007a) as well as antioxidant activity (Aliyu et al., 2009) on the leave extracts of the plant.



1.1.2. Drug discovery process and sources


Drug discovery is the process by which new candidate medications are discovered. Drugs from natural sources may fall into one of three categories of compounds: those that were isolated from biological organisms, those that are modified versions of natural products, and those that are completely synthetic but yet, based upon models of natural origin (Cragg 2002). Today, natural products are responsible for about half of the approved drugs that are currently available. 


For example, 18 of the 42 new drugs discovered in 1992 are either natural products or synthetic analogs of natural products (Davis, 1992). Obviously, nature has had quite an effect on the science of drug discovery, and the role of the chemist has become important  for  work  in  isolation,  structure  determination,  and  synthesis  of  bioactive compounds (Newman et al., 2000). 


The questions for natural products chemists may pose as follows: which biological species produce these compounds, what is the structure of the molecules, and how potent are they as therapeutic agents (Yoder, 2005).


Drug discovery from natural products has reclaimed the attention of the pharmaceutical industry and is on the verge of a comeback due to new technological inputs that promise better returns on investment (Bhutani, 2007). This is because natural products, particularly, microbial and plant products in their native form have been associated with mankind since ancient times. 


These have played a vital role in the discovery of New Chemical substance in a range of time referred to as ‗the golden period (1981-2002) of drug discovery‘. An important aspect of it all is that drugs derived from natural sources served as drug leads suitable for optimisation by synthetic means (Bhutani, 2007).



1.1.3. Isolation of lead-molecules from plants


Drug Discovery in ancient times was by chance and was based on clinical practices (Arun, 2015).  Understanding  therapeutic  benefits deepens  Natural  Product  (NP)  and  increase previously  serendipitous  discoveries,  evolving  into  active  researches  for  new  medicines (Wang et al., 2007). 


Progress in Life Sciences has not only revealed many pathological processes  of  diseases  but  also  the  molecular  mechanisms.  These  has  then  led  to  the development of molecular and cellular assays in conjunction with ‗Ultra-High-Throughput 



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