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Pure Appl. Chem., 2011, Vol. 83, No. 9, pp. 1699-1707

Published online 2011-07-17

Exploring Turkish biodiversity: A rich source of chemical diversity for drug leads discovery

Bilge Şener* and İlkay Orhan

Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Gazi University, 06330 Ankara, Turkey

Abstract: Bioresources offer tremendous potential by having excellent chemical diversity for drug discovery programs and by serving as templates for synthetic drugs. There are well-known examples of clinically important drugs derived from natural sources. The development of pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, agricultural, and industrial products from bioresources can be used to promote incentives for conservation by providing an economic return to innovative use. Of those sources, medicinal plants have a virtually untapped reserve of original drug molecules, which await determination and chemical and biological investigation. Marine organisms have also gained increasing attention from researchers worldwide due to their chemically diverse secondary metabolites with desirable biological activities. There is still a great need for novel compounds with unique mechanisms of action to treat diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and diabetes. Besides, multiresistance development by the parasites to the present drugs also constitutes another problem for the treatment of parasitic diseases as well as tuberculosis. In this article, 209 plant species belonging to 11 plant families were investigated for cholinesterase inhibitory activity by in vitro Ellman method at 10 μg/ml and 1 mg/ml doses. Among them, Salvia, Rosmarinus, and Fumaria species were found to have the most significant cholinesterase inhibitory activity.