The Appearance of natural additives as performance enhancers – The hop
Nature has always produced almost every organic substance known. The plant kingdom is responsible for contributing with secondary metabolites administration; many of them offer a great added value due to their application in medicine, cosmetics, aliments and agrochemicals. Plants have their own defenses that normally protect them from other plants and predators.
These defenses have a chemical nature and, generally, involve substances of secondary metabolism. Secondary products have an important role in plants’ adaptation to their environment. These molecules contribute to the interaction of the plants with different ecosystems. These products increase the survival probability, because they are responsible for different biological activities such as antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral in order to protect the plants from the pathogens, and some of them present antigerminative or toxic activities for other plants. The concept of secondary metabolism has been briefly defined as less abundant compounds, with a frequency of les than 1% of the total carbon, due to their storage in organs or in specific cells. The primary metabolism is described as the vital functions for the survival of the plant, such as cell division, growth, breathing, storage and reproduction.
The phytogenic additives are substances mainly volatile and lipophilic, the majority of which are terpene hydrocarbons, simple alcohols, ketones, phenols and esters with pharmacologically active compounds. These additives present a significant variation in the chemical composition of the vegetal, depending on climate conditions, incidence of light, phase of harvest, localization or storage conditions.