Connecting Chemistry with Society

Bioactive Natural Products and Public Health in the Pacific Rim: From Aquatic Dietary Supplements to Marine and Freshwater Toxins (#230)

The Pacific Rim is a rich source of bioactive natural products, some clearly detrimental to human health and others offering potential health promoting activity. Worldwide analytical efforts are driven by both compound discovery and the need to establish quantitative methods to monitor hazards. The need to evaluate functional foods and traditional medicines for conformity to product quality standards is also vital in Pacific Rim nations. Establishment of bio-similarity to published standards is essential. Animal bioassays were the first detection methods deployed for toxins and for discovery of bioactive constituents, but are increasingly being supplanted by chemical assays and in-vitro bioassays. Some, such as quantitative NMR, LC/MS/MS, and even HPTLC, are frequently being coupled with chemometrics approaches that can be used for everything from biomass identification to quantitative analysis of target compounds. Other high performance analytical tools have emerged from natural products chemistry, analytical chemistry, and pharmacology. These range from microbore chromatographic methods to receptor binding assays and other rapid screening tests. These are currently being validated and implemented, providing the region with timelier health protection and health promotion. International and often large scale collaborations by regulators, academic researchers, and industry have been fruitful and also training within and outside the laboratory are key requirements for success.
Last update: Dec 28, 2015