Author: Timothy Johns,John T. Romeo
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
View: 7150Phytochemists are aware that their focus of interest is receiving attention from a wider segment of society and from a greater diversity of disciplines within the scientific community than ever before. Nonetheless, they were bemused to learn three years ago that "until recently scientists didn't even know phytochemi cals existed" (Newsweek, April 24, 1994). Changing public perception of the positive contributions of phytochemicals to human well-being has foundations in scientific advances. With popular reports emphasizing the important implica tions of phytochemicals in the daily lives of people, there is a pressing need for those working in this area to explain their diverse scientific activities to the public. Chemicals from plant foods are linked through epidemiological and ex perimental studies with reduced incidence of chronic degenerative diseases. Phytomedicines, standardized according to particular constituents, are making increasing contributions to health care. Naturally occurring constituents of plants are recognized as fundamental to the appeal, quality, and marketability of food products. In light of such developments, perceptions by phytochemists of their own discipline and its applications are expanding. Until recently, food phyto chemistry largely implied food toxicants. Food plants were familiar, but seldom the source of novel economically important compounds. Increasingly sophisti cated methods of analysis, however, have opened new opportunities for under standing the nature and functions offood constituents, and for manipulating them to improve the quality, acceptability, and value of food products.