Natural Products Chemistry in the Marine Environment

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Science  19 Feb 1982:
Vol. 215, Issue 4535, pp. 923-928
DOI: 10.1126/science.215.4535.923


Significant differences and numerous similarities exist in the biosynthetic activities of marine and terrestrial plants and animals. While the more primitive marine biota are recognized to possess the common biosynthetic pathways to produce terpenes, acetogenins, aromatic compounds, and alkaloids, in many cases these pathways have been modified in unusual ways. The halogens in sebwater, for example, appear to be fundamentally involved in terpene biosynthesis and in the production of bromine-containinq acetogenins and phenolic compoupds. Marine metabolites have high physiological activities, and these molecules are conceived to function, in part at least, as defensive adaptations In the marine environment.