Scientists at Ghent University have just discovered a crucial protein in the self-defense process of plants dubbed the NINJA protein that may open the door for the greatly increased production of plant-based therapeutics. Previously it was known that when a plant is in defense mode it produces secondary metabolites which are crucial compounds that have various therapeutic characteristics. Up until now scientists have not known how to produce those secondary metabolites on a whim, however with the discovery of the NINJA protein they’ve unlocked the secret and should be able to produce plant-based therapeutics in large quantities.

biology, scientist, ninja proteins, plant based therapeutics, medicine, medicinal plants

Scientists have long known about hormones in plants — called jasmonates — that appear when a plant goes into defense mode. With the discovery of the NINJA protein — Novel INteractor of JAsmonates — they have they figured out how the key to make the plant produce secondary metabolates. The NINJA protein and jasmonates are crucial to the process and now scientists will be able to turn on plants defense mechanisms and harvest large quantities of secondary metabolates.

The industry of medicine is rife with chemicals and toxins. Often when plant-based remedies can’t be produced in large numbers — or if it’s too expensive — chemical substitutes are created and used widely to treat diseases. This discovery will lead scientists in a — hopefully — more natural direction. How great would it be if all medicine was made from plants?

Via Science Daily