Plant Phytochemicals on Crop Protection and Drug Development

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Phytochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 August 2023) | Viewed by 18597

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, 4099-002 Porto, Portugal
2. Institute for Research and Inovation in Health (i3S), University of Porto, 4099-002 Porto, Portugal
Interests: evidence-based medicine; phytochemistry; phytopharmacology; drug discovery; natural products biochemistry; bioactive molecules; functional foods; nutraceuticals; fungal and bacterial infections; resistance to antimicrobials
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plant-derived bioactives and their corresponding metabolites are gaining an increasing interest for clinical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and industrial purposes. Plants and their botanical formulations are composed of a rich pool of bioactive molecules with a plethora of potentialities and have been widely used throughout human history for multiple health affections. With the rising trend in the search for new drugs, natural products have been widely recognized as key sources of phytochemicals for drug development. Several methods/techniques have been developed in recent years to allow for a deeper study on the potentialities of natural products, along with high efforts to assist medicinal chemists in generating new synthetic organic compounds capable of being used alone or in combination with conventional drugs to optimize the therapeutic regimens and to decrease the likelihood of side effects occurring. On the other side, consumers have a high demand for healthier and safer products. Consequently, not only plant-derived bioactives but also functional foods have been increasingly introduced into the markets, promoting the products’ shelf-life extension, maintenance, and even the improvement of both their organoleptic and nutritional traits, along with the formulation of new added-value products and functional foods, among other biotechnological approaches. In this context and considering that most of these bioactive molecules—derived from the secondary metabolism of plants—are produced for the plant’s own protection, increasing attention has also been paid on their use for crop protection (including biocide formulation), improving general health, and both to prevent and as a complement to the treatment of diseases in human beings.

In this sense, the present Special Issue of Plants welcomes original articles, reviews, commentaries, critical perspectives, and short communications on the use of plant-derived bioactives for modern drug discovery and development, crop protection, and biotechnological processes.

Prof. Dr. Natália Cruz-Martins
Dr. Christophe Hano
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • medicinal plants
  • secondary metabolites
  • biological effects
  • crop protection
  • drug discovery

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 1293 KiB  
Article
Antidiabetic, Antihyperlipidemic, and Antioxidant Evaluation of Phytosteroids from Notholirion thomsonianum (Royle) Stapf
by Mohammad A. Huneif, Shah Fahad, Alqahtani Abdulwahab, Seham M. Alqahtani, Mater H. Mahnashi, Asif Nawaz, Fida Hussain and Abdul Sadiq
Plants 2023, 12(20), 3591; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12203591 - 17 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1029
Abstract
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic complication and can pose a serious challenge to human health. DM is the main cause of many life-threatening diseases. Researchers of natural products have been continuously engaged in treating vital diseases in an economical and efficient way. [...] Read more.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic complication and can pose a serious challenge to human health. DM is the main cause of many life-threatening diseases. Researchers of natural products have been continuously engaged in treating vital diseases in an economical and efficient way. In this research, we extensively used phytosteroids from Notholirion thomsonianum (Royle) Stapf for the treatment of DM. The structures of phytosteroids NtSt01 and NtSt02 were confirmed with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses. Through in vitro studies including α-glucosidase, α-amylase, and DPPH assays, compound NtSt01 was found to be comparatively potent. An elevated dose of compound NtSt01 was also found to be safe in an experimental study on rats. With a dose of 1.0 mg/kg of NtSt01, the effect on blood glucose levels in rats was observed to be 519 ± 3.98, 413 ± 1.87, 325 ± 1.62, 219 ± 2.87, and 116 ± 1.33 mg/dL on the 1st, 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th, days, respectively. The in vivo results were compared with those of glibenclamide, which reduced the blood glucose level to 107 ± 2.33 mg/dL on the 28th day. On the 28th day of NtSt01 administration, the average weights of the rats and vital organs (liver, kidney, pancreas, and heart) remained healthy, with a slight increase. The biochemical parameters of the blood, i.e., serum creatinine, blood urea, serum bilirubin, SGPT (or ALT), and serum alkaline phosphatase, of rats treated with NtSt01 remained in the normal ranges. Similarly, the serum cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels also remained within the standard ranges. It is obvious from our overall results that the phytosteroids (specifically NtSt01) had an efficient therapeutic effect on the blood glucose level, protection of vital organs, and blood biochemistry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Phytochemicals on Crop Protection and Drug Development)
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18 pages, 2435 KiB  
Article
Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and Antiproliferative Effects of Osmanthus fragrans (Thunb.) Lour. Flower Extracts
by Steven Kuan-Hua Huang, Paolo Robert P. Bueno, Patrick Jay B. Garcia, Mon-Juan Lee, Kathlia A. De Castro-Cruz, Rhoda B. Leron and Po-Wei Tsai
Plants 2023, 12(17), 3168; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12173168 - 4 Sep 2023
Viewed by 2591
Abstract
Osmanthus fragrans (Thunb.) Lour. flowers (OF-F) have been traditionally consumed as a functional food and utilized as folk medicine. This study evaluated the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic effects of OF-F extracts on prostate cancer cells (DU-145) and determined possible protein-ligand interactions of its [...] Read more.
Osmanthus fragrans (Thunb.) Lour. flowers (OF-F) have been traditionally consumed as a functional food and utilized as folk medicine. This study evaluated the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic effects of OF-F extracts on prostate cancer cells (DU-145) and determined possible protein-ligand interactions of its compounds in silico. The crude OF-F extracts—water (W) and ethanol (E) were tested for phytochemical screening, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer. Network and molecular docking analyses of chemical markers were executed to establish their application for anticancer drug development. OF-F-E possessed higher total polyphenols (233.360 ± 3.613 g/kg) and tannin (93.350 ± 1.003 g/kg) contents than OF-F-W. In addition, OF-F-E extract demonstrated effective DPPH scavenging activity (IC50 = 0.173 ± 0.004 kg/L) and contained a high FRAP value (830.620 ± 6.843 g Trolox/kg). In cell culture experiments, OF-F-E significantly reduced NO levels and inhibited cell proliferation of RAW-264.7 and DU-145 cell lines, respectively. Network analysis revealed O. fragrans (Thunb.) Lour. metabolites could affect thirteen molecular functions and thirteen biological processes in four cellular components. These metabolites inhibited key proteins of DU-145 prostate cancer using molecular docking with rutin owning the highest binding affinity with PIKR31 and AR. Hence, this study offered a new rationale for O. fragrans (Thunb.) Lour. metabolites as a medicinal herb for anticancer drug development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Phytochemicals on Crop Protection and Drug Development)
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15 pages, 1498 KiB  
Article
The Role of Protein-Rich Extracts from Chondrus crispus as Biostimulant and in Enhancing Tolerance to Drought Stress in Tomato Plants
by Guido Domingo, Milena Marsoni, Milena Álvarez-Viñas, M. Dolores Torres, Herminia Domínguez and Candida Vannini
Plants 2023, 12(4), 845; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12040845 - 13 Feb 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2669
Abstract
The application of seaweed extract-based biostimulants is a promising approach for achieving sustainable agriculture, with an enormous potential of improving crop yield and mitigating climate change effects. Abiotic stressors, such as drought, are major factors resulting in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) yield [...] Read more.
The application of seaweed extract-based biostimulants is a promising approach for achieving sustainable agriculture, with an enormous potential of improving crop yield and mitigating climate change effects. Abiotic stressors, such as drought, are major factors resulting in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) yield losses and seaweed-based biostimulants have been proposed as an eco-friendly strategy to counteract this negative impact. Chondrus crispus is a common red seaweed widely used as source of carrageenans, not yet explored as a plant biostimulant. In this study, a protein hydrolysate-rich C. crispus extract, by-products of the carrageenan extraction, was tested on tomato plants under well-watered condition and water shortage. The foliar application of the protein-rich C. crispus extract conferred drought tolerance to tomato plants resulting in less noticeable visual stress symptoms. Treated plants showed higher shoot height and biomass under both well-watered and water deficit conditions, evidencing the double effect exerted by this new biostimulant, as plant growth promoter and drought stress protector. The treatment with the biostimulant had an effect on levels of abscisic acid and proline, and triggered the expression of Solyc02g084840, a drought marker gene. Finally, a label-free mass spectrometric approach allowed us to identify phycoerythrins and phycocyanins as major bioactive proteins contained in the extract. Altogether, these results indicate that the foliar application of protein hydrolysate-rich extracts from C. crispus improved tomato plant growth and tolerance to drought stress, suggesting a new opportunity for further applications in the agriculture and horticultural sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Phytochemicals on Crop Protection and Drug Development)
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13 pages, 2408 KiB  
Article
Chemical Composition and Bioinsecticidal Effects of Thymus zygis L., Salvia officinalis L. and Mentha suaveolens Ehrh. Essential Oils on Medfly Ceratitis capitata and Tomato Leaf Miner Tuta absoluta
by Hannou Zerkani, Loubna Kharchoufa, Imane Tagnaout, Jamila Fakchich, Mohamed Bouhrim, Smail Amalich, Mohamed Addi, Christophe Hano, Natália Cruz-Martins, Rachid Bouharroud and Touria Zair
Plants 2022, 11(22), 3084; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11223084 - 14 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1750
Abstract
The present work was aimed to study the toxicity of the essential oils of three aromatic and medicinal plants on the tomato leaf miner Tuta absoluta and the Medfly Ceratitis capitata as an alternative to conventional pesticides. We carried out a phytochemical and [...] Read more.
The present work was aimed to study the toxicity of the essential oils of three aromatic and medicinal plants on the tomato leaf miner Tuta absoluta and the Medfly Ceratitis capitata as an alternative to conventional pesticides. We carried out a phytochemical and insecticide study of T. zygis L., S. officinalis L. and M. suaveolens Ehrh. essential oils (EOs) through the study of their chemical composition and their toxicity on C. capitata adults and T. absoluta larvae. The extraction of the EOs by hydrodistillation showed yields of 3.87 ± 0.03, 4.09 ± 0.23 and 4.35 ± 0.11 for T. zygis, S. officinalis L. and M. suaveolens Ehrh., respectively. The identification of the chemical composition of the EOs by GC/MS showed that oxygenated monoterpenes constituted the most abundant group for all the extracted EOs. The major compounds were rather diversified depending on plant species. In fact, the S. officinalis L. EO mainly contained trans-thujone (21.80 %), the M. suaveolens Ehrh. EO mainly contained piperitenone oxide (71.19%), and carvacrol (61.60%) was the main component of the T. zygis L. EO. An insecticidal effect was observed for the three studied EOs on C. capitata adults and T. absoluta larvae. The observed LD50 values were 0.80 µL/mL and 11.04 µL/mL for M. suaveolens and S. officinalis, respectively, on T. absoluta larvae. For C. capitata adults, the obtained LD50 values were 0.9 µL/mL and 11.78 µL/mL for M. suaveolens and T. zygis, respectively. The presented findings could contribute to the development of biopesticides for plants as a component of integrated pest management strategies in citrus and tomato crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Phytochemicals on Crop Protection and Drug Development)
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17 pages, 9788 KiB  
Article
Combined Computational and Experimental Studies of Anabasine Encapsulation by Beta-Cyclodextrin
by Zeinolla Muldakhmetov, Serik Fazylov, Oral Nurkenov, Arstan Gazaliev, Akmaral Sarsenbekova, Irina Pustolaikina, Zhangeldy Nurmaganbetov, Olzhas Seilkhanov, Aisha A. Alsfouk, Eslam B. Elkaeed, Ibrahim H. Eissa and Ahmed M. Metwaly
Plants 2022, 11(17), 2283; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11172283 - 31 Aug 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1595
Abstract
The encapsulation of the famous alkaloid, anabasine, with β-CD was studied to obtain a more stable and bioavailable inclusion complex. Various in silico and experimental studies of the obtained β-CD-anabasine complex are presented. Firstly, molecular docking studies were conducted against the α, β, [...] Read more.
The encapsulation of the famous alkaloid, anabasine, with β-CD was studied to obtain a more stable and bioavailable inclusion complex. Various in silico and experimental studies of the obtained β-CD-anabasine complex are presented. Firstly, molecular docking studies were conducted against the α, β, and γ cyclodextrins to explore which subclass is the best for encapsulation. The obtained results that pointed at β-cyclodextrin were further confirmed by five MD simulations and MM-PBSA studies. Experimentally, the spectral properties of the anabasine β-cyclodextrin complex were determined by FT-IR, 1H, and 13C-NMR spectroscopic methods. Additionally, the surface morphology of the anabasine β-cyclodextrin was investigated using a scanning electron microscope. Furthermore, the outputs of the thermographic measurements utilizing a differential scanning calorimeter were displayed. The activation energy of the reaction of thermo-oxidative destruction of the clathrate complex was calculated, and the kinetic parameters of the thermal destruction processes were decided using the Freeman–Carroll, Sharpe–Wentworth, Achar, and Coates–Redfern methods. The kinetic parameters of the thermal decomposition of the anabasine β-cyclodextrin were in agreement and verified the reliability of the obtained results. The obtained computational, spectral, morphological, and thermogravimetric results verified the successful formation of the anabasine β-cyclodextrin complex. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Phytochemicals on Crop Protection and Drug Development)
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12 pages, 2935 KiB  
Communication
Extraction Kinetics and Reaction Rates of Sacred Lotus Stamen Tea Infusion-Derived Flavonoids in Relation with Its Antioxidant Capacity
by Duangjai Tungmunnithum, Laurine Garros, Samantha Drouet, Natália Cruz-Martins and Christophe Hano
Plants 2022, 11(17), 2234; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11172234 - 29 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1410
Abstract
Stamen tea from Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. (or the so-called sacred lotus) is widely consumed, and its flavonoids provide various human health benefits. The method used for tea preparation for consumption, namely the infusion time, may affect the levels of extractable flavonoids, ultimately affecting [...] Read more.
Stamen tea from Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. (or the so-called sacred lotus) is widely consumed, and its flavonoids provide various human health benefits. The method used for tea preparation for consumption, namely the infusion time, may affect the levels of extractable flavonoids, ultimately affecting their biological effects. To date, there is no report on this critical information. Thus, this study aims to determine the kinetics of solid liquid extraction of flavonoid from sacred lotus stamen using the traditional method of preparing sacred lotus stamen tea. Phytochemical composition was also analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The antioxidant potential of stamen tea was also determined. The results indicated that the infusion time critically affects the concentrations of flavonoids and the antioxidant capacity of sacred lotus stamen tea, with a minimum infusion time of 5–12 min being required to release the different flavonoids from the tea. The extraction was modeled using second order kinetics. The rate of release was investigated by the glycosylation pattern, with flavonoid diglycosides, e.g., rutin and Kae-3-Rob, being released faster than flavonoid monoglycosides. The antioxidant activity was also highly correlated with flavonoid levels during infusion. Taken together, data obtained here underline that, among others, the infusion time should be considered for the experimental design of future epidemiological studies and/or clinical trials to reach the highest health benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Phytochemicals on Crop Protection and Drug Development)
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18 pages, 1387 KiB  
Article
Phytochemical Composition, Antioxidant, Antibacterial, and Enzyme Inhibitory Activities of Various Organic Extracts from Apocynum hendersonii (Hook.f.) Woodson
by Aminu Shehu Abubakar, Xiaoyu Huang, Ziggiju Mesenbet Birhanie, Gang Gao, Xinkang Feng, Chunming Yu, Ping Chen, Jikang Chen, Kunmei Chen, Xiaofei Wang and Aiguo Zhu
Plants 2022, 11(15), 1964; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11151964 - 28 Jul 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1806
Abstract
Apocynum hendersonii is a traditional medicinal plant used primarily as tea. It has a potential health benefit from its rich bioactive substances. This study investigated the reactivity of solvents of different polarities (ethanol, ethyl acetate, n-hexane, methanol, and water) extracts of the A. [...] Read more.
Apocynum hendersonii is a traditional medicinal plant used primarily as tea. It has a potential health benefit from its rich bioactive substances. This study investigated the reactivity of solvents of different polarities (ethanol, ethyl acetate, n-hexane, methanol, and water) extracts of the A. hendersonii leaf. The phytochemical composition of the extracts was evaluated using a Fourier Transform Infrared spectrophotometer (FT-IR), Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), UHPLC-MS, and Higher Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). The result revealed the presence of medicinally important bioactive constituents, including phenols, flavonoids, and polysaccharides. Methanol extracts exhibited the highest flavonoid contents (20.11 ± 0.85 mg QE/g DW) and the second-highest in terms of phenolic (9.25 ± 0.03 mg GAE/g DW) and polysaccharide (119.66 ± 2.65 mg GE/g DW). It also had the highest antioxidant capacity with 60.30 ± 0.52% and 4.60 ± 0.02 µmol Fe2+ per g DW based on a 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assay and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), respectively. Ethanol extract displayed the maximum antibacterial action against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria and the highest inhibition activity against the enzymes tyrosinase and acetylcholinesterase, followed by methanol extract. The principal component analysis revealed a positive correlation between the constituents, bioactivities, and extracts. The overall result showed A. hendersonii as a rich natural source of antimicrobial and antioxidant bioactive compounds and may be used for future applications in pharmaceuticals and food industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Phytochemicals on Crop Protection and Drug Development)
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19 pages, 6308 KiB  
Article
The Computational Preventive Potential of the Rare Flavonoid, Patuletin, Isolated from Tagetes patula, against SARS-CoV-2
by Ahmed M. Metwaly, Eslam B. Elkaeed, Bshra A. Alsfouk, Abdulrahman M. Saleh, Ahmad E. Mostafa and Ibrahim H. Eissa
Plants 2022, 11(14), 1886; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11141886 - 20 Jul 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1615
Abstract
The rare flavonoid, patuletin, was isolated from the flowers of Tagetes patula growing in Egypt. The rarity of the isolated compound inspired us to scrutinize its preventive effect against COVID-19 utilizing a multi-step computational approach. Firstly, a structural similarity study was carried out [...] Read more.
The rare flavonoid, patuletin, was isolated from the flowers of Tagetes patula growing in Egypt. The rarity of the isolated compound inspired us to scrutinize its preventive effect against COVID-19 utilizing a multi-step computational approach. Firstly, a structural similarity study was carried out against nine ligands of nine SARS-CoV-2 proteins. The results showed a large structural similarity between patuletin and F86, the ligand of SARS-CoV-2 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). Then, a 3D-Flexible alignment study of patuletin and F86 verified the proposed similarity. To determine the binding opportunity, patuletin was docked against the RdRp showing a correct binding inside its active pocket with an energy of −20 kcal/mol that was comparable to that of F86 (−23 kcal/mol). Following, several MD simulations as well as MM-PBSA studies authenticated the accurate binding of patuletin in the RdRp via the correct dynamic and energetic behaviors over 100 ns. Additionally, in silico ADMET studies showed the general safety and drug-likeness of patuletin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Phytochemicals on Crop Protection and Drug Development)
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Review

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25 pages, 9468 KiB  
Review
Caryocar coriaceum Wittm. (Caryocaraceae): Botany, Ethnomedicinal Uses, Biological Activities, Phytochemistry, Extractivism and Conservation Needs
by José Weverton Almeida-Bezerra, José Jailson Lima Bezerra, Viviane Bezerra da Silva, Henrique Douglas Melo Coutinho, José Galberto Martins da Costa, Natália Cruz-Martins, Christophe Hano, Saulo Almeida de Menezes, Maria Flaviana Bezerra Morais-Braga and Antonio Fernando Morais de Oliveira
Plants 2022, 11(13), 1685; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11131685 - 25 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2754
Abstract
Caryocar coriaceum is an endemic tree of Brazil, occurring mainly in the northeast region in the Cerrado environment. The species, popularly known as “pequi”, produces fruits that are used in the manufacture of oil for food and medicinal purposes. This work reviewed studies [...] Read more.
Caryocar coriaceum is an endemic tree of Brazil, occurring mainly in the northeast region in the Cerrado environment. The species, popularly known as “pequi”, produces fruits that are used in the manufacture of oil for food and medicinal purposes. This work reviewed studies conducted with the species, highlighting its ethnomedicinal use, its pharmacological potential, including its chemical constituents, and its cultural and socioeconomic importance. Information was obtained through the main scientific research platforms. The keyword “Caryocar coriaceum” was used as the main index for searching the following platforms: PubMed®, PubMed Central®, SciElo, Scopus® and Web of ScienceTM. The compiled papers demonstrate that C. coriaceum has great medicinal, economic and cultural importance for northeastern Brazil. Popularly, the fruits of C. coriaceum are used to treat broncho-pulmonary diseases (bronchitis, colds and flu). The fixed oil is widely used to relieve pain from various causes in the treatment of inflammation, flu, eczema, burns, fever, rickets, indigestion, heart murmurs, fatigue and erectile dysfunction. Some of these uses are corroborated by pharmacological trials, which have demonstrated the antioxidant, healing, anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective, antinociceptive and antimicrobial properties of the species. Chemically, fatty acids and phenolic compounds are the main constituents recorded for the species. Due to its medicinal properties, the fruits and oil of C. coriaceum have a high commercial demand and are one of the main forms of subsistence activities for local populations. On the other hand, the extractive practice of the fruits, associated with anthropic factors and its physiological nature, makes the species threatened with extinction. Thus, public management policies are highly necessary in order to avoid its extinction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Phytochemicals on Crop Protection and Drug Development)
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