Molecules from Nature

Products made by plants and bacteria are essential for humankind, and integral to our daily lives. Molecules from Nature will investigate the vast diversity of chemicals produced by plants and microbes.

Researchers in this ISP funded by BBSRC, will study the importance of plant and microbial chemicals in areas of biology including the interactions between soil organisms and plants, the interaction between diet and health, and the medicinal properties of plants.

The research will underpin development of new products and processes of economic and societal benefit, such as new therapeutics and antibiotics, sustainable ways to improve crop yields, and foods with health benefits.

These products provide our food and nutrients essential for our well-being, major drugs, therapeutics and antibiotics, and raw materials for the manufacture of a host of products including agrichemicals, personal care products, paints, plastics, lubricants, and textiles.

In addition to these essential and well known products, it is clear from research on plant and microbial genes that these organisms are able to make a vast range of as-yet undiscovered products. This hidden potential offers a great opportunity to find new products of value to humankind.

Research in the Molecules from Nature ISP will unlock this hidden potential.

At a fundamental level we will discover the evolutionary origins and biological function of the vast product diversity present in plants and microbes, and reveal how important classes of products are synthesised by these organisms.

We will use this information to design and engineer new molecules and producing organisms to drive advances in health, medicine and sustainable manufacturing and agricultural practices.

We will thus provide new resources for the bioeconomy, new means of addressing societal needs including malnutrition and under-nutrition, and rapid, effective responses to threats from emerging diseases.