Sources of further information and advice

To gain further insight into several aspects related to the use of plant-based compounds in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic fields, several books are recommended:

• 'Pharmaceutical Biotechnology' (Kayser and Müller, 2004). This book reflects the combination of such pharmaceutical interests as drug delivery, drug targeting, quality and safety management, drug approval and regulation, patenting issues and biotechnology fundamentals.

• 'Pharmaceutical Chemistry: Therapeutic Aspects of Biomacromolecules' (Bladon, 2002). The book provides a broad introduction and explores the way in which carbohydrates, amongst other phytochemicals, are used therapeutically.

• 'Encyclopaedia of Common Natural Ingredients used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics' (Leung and Foster, 2003). This volume provides information on the composition, processing and manner of use of around 500 of the most commonly used natural ingredients.

• 'Polysaccharide Applications: Cosmetics and Pharmaceuticals' (El-Nokaly and Soini, 1999). The book brings together many aspects related to the use of polysaccharides in those fields.

• 'Antioxidants in food: practical applications' (Pokorny, 2001). This book provides a review of the functional roles and the potential exploitation of plant antioxidants.

• 'Oils and Fats Handbook (Rossell, 1999). This book provides an authoritative text on edible vegetable oils and fats. It also describes the legislation governing their use.

In addition, two web-related pages might be of great interest: - From the International Academy of Life Sciences, this web page defines itself as a science-based medically orientated public dialogue site. It has a section on plant-made pharmaceuticals and many interesting links to institutions, conferences and associations involved in this field. - An important database for seed oil fatty acids established by the Institute for Chemistry and Physics of Lipids in Münster is electronically searchable: the Database SOFA. This internet database allows users to search for plant species, genera and families, for individual fatty acids and combinations of fatty acids in their seed oils, and for their percentage contents. It contains literature references and numerous unpublished data. Several examples of search operations have been published (Aitzetmüller et al., 2003).

Finally, although the development of biopharmaceuticals based on recombinant proteins was beyond the scope of this chapter, the reading of recent reviews such as those of Fischer et al. (2004), Peterson and Arntzen (2004), Walsh (2005) and Gomord et al. (2005) is strongly recommended.

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