Print version ISSN 0100-4042
GOBBO-NETO, Leonardo and LOPES, Norberto P.. Medicinal plants: factors of influence on the content of secondary metabolites. Quím. Nova [online]. 2007, vol.30, n.2, pp. 374-381. ISSN 0100-4042. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-40422007000200026.
Since secondary metabolites represent a chemical interface between plants and surrounding environment, their syntheses are frequently affected by environmental conditions. Thus, variations in the total content and/or of the relative proportions of secondary metabolites in plants can take place. We review the main environmental factors that can streamline or alter the production or concentration of secondary metabolites in plants. How seasonality, circadian rhythm, developmental stage and age, temperature, water availability, UV radiation, soil nutrients, altitude, atmospheric composition and tissue damage influence secondary metabolism are discussed.
Keywords : variations in secondary metabolites; medicinal plants; chemical ecology.