African Journal of Biotechnology

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Pharmacological and other beneficial effects of antinutritional factors in plants - A review

KO Soetan


The health and other benefits of plant’s secondary metabolites, also known as antinutritional factors are reviewed. Examples of these natural compounds of plant origin are saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids,
tannins, oxalates, phytates, trypsin (protease) inhibitors,  phytohaemagglutinins (lectins), just to mention a few. Emphasis has always been laid on the toxic and anti-nutrient effects of these
compounds in the natural state even though many of them are detoxified by several processing methods such as soaking, germination, boiling, autoclaving, fermentation, genetic manipulation and other processing methods. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest by researchers in the use of naturally occurring biologically active compounds of medicinal value (phytomedicines). The plant kingdom still contains many species of plant-containing substances of pharmacological and other benefits. In the search for new drugs to combat the problem of drug resistance, natural products of
plant origin play a vital role. This review is an attempt to redefine the importance of these natural compounds as a possible solution to the problem of drug resistance and to explore their potentials for
the benefit of humans and animals.

AJOL African Journals Online