secondary metabolism

Bob Kirk reikirk at
Sat Jul 1 13:26:38 EST 2000

"Stephen Jankalski" <CEREOID at> writes:

>In reference to what?
>Could you be a little less specific and even more vague?
>When is your paper due?
>Could it be that which follows the primary metabolism and the primary
>What about the tertiary metabolism and the tertiary metabolite?

>"Mozart Marins" <marins at> wrote
>> HI there,
>>     Please, can someone give me a good definition of what is a secondary
>> metabolism ? A secondary metabolite ? How we diferentiate a primary
>> metabolism form secondary metabolism ?
>>     Tkanks, Mozart
  They're compounds that unlike, say, chlorophyll, don't have any direct
function in growth or development of the plant - e.g. terpenes, phenols,
alkaloids, etc., or to put it another way, what we often refer to as
"natural products" (such as latex or cocaine). 
  Also, unlike primary metabolites, the specific compound(s) are seldom
if ever found throughout the plant kingdom but usually restricted to a
single family or even a single species. And finally, though it's purely 
a matter of interest rather than definition, they most often serve to
protect a plant from attack by herbivores, pests or pathogens.

  I'm sure all (except Jankalski) will forgive me having spent about
fifteen seconds looking in an old Plant Physiology text to refresh my
memory of this. Hint: check the index - not exactly an arcane topic. I
won't speculate why the original poster couldn't have done so, except to
note that it obviously isn't him who needs a little vacation.....

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