The field of chemical and medicinal properties of forest-derived biomasses and their use in the development of medicinal or other health-related products needs scientists in forestry, chemistry, pharmacology and medicine to work together to create new innovations for human health. The recent European Forest Week side event “Forest biomasses as a source of novel bioactive compounds” highlighted these issues and gathered together experts from the different fields of science. The message of the event was that forest biomasses are a large reservoir of untapped, interesting bioactive compounds to be utilized for various purposes including new medicines for common diseases. However, at the same time it was emphasized that utilization of these resources urgently needs more attention as well as long-term funding, because two or three years for a project is just too short a time to develop new innovations. Furthermore, the majority of the researchers are unfortunately quite unfamiliar with issues related to intellectual property rights, which should, however, be taken into account in many product development processes. This knowledge gap is one of the challenges which should be solved to strengthen connections between the pharmaceutical industry and basic research.
How far is it from ‘forest’ to ‘pharmacy’?
A large share of current medication originated in the forest. Many tree species and mushrooms are a rich source of bioactive medicinal compounds. Developing new medications from the basis of novel bioactive compounds from the forest has become more and more attractive because the future bio-economy needs to find a way to utilize our forest in a sustainable way. However, how far is this path from raw materials in the forest to products in the pharmacy?
To promote forest foods as important contributors to household nutrition in China
The research activities of the Beijing Key Laboratory of Forest Food Processing and Safety, Beijing Forestry University
The gifts of nature - highlights of the Non-wood Forest Products, Health and Well-being Conference, Espoo, Finland
Forest biomasses as a source of novel bioactive compounds – A side event at the European Forest Week in Rovaniemi, Finland
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