Role of Biotechnology for Protection of Endangered Medicinal Plants

Abstract

The last two centuries of industrialization, urbanization and changes in land use converting agricultural and natural areas to artificial surface have led to European plants being considered amongst the most threatened in the world. In some countries, more than two-thirds of the existing habitat types are considered endangered. Human activity is the primary cause of risk for 83% of endangered plant species. Habitat destruction and loss are also a problem because they lead to the fragmentation of the remaining habitat resulting in futher isolation of plant population [1]. From another side during the last 10 years an intense interest has emerged in "nutraceuticals" (or "functional foods") in which phytochemical constituents can have longterm health promoting or medicinal qualities. Although the distinction between medicinal plants and nutraceuticals can sometimes be vague, a primary characteristic of the latter is that nutraceuticals have a nutritional role in the diet and the benefits to health may arise from longterm use as foods (i.e. chemoprevention) [2]. In contrast, many medicinal plants possess specific medicinal benefits without serving a nutritional role in the human diet and may be used in response to specific health problems over shortor long-term intervals [3].

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Tasheva2013RoleOB, title={Role of Biotechnology for Protection of Endangered Medicinal Plants}, author={Krasimira Tasheva and Georgina Kosturkova}, year={2013} }