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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Charles E Elson, BS, MS, PhD (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Description: The extensive review of the types of structures of secondary plant metabolites, often termed phytochemicals or non-nutritive compounds, in the pomegranate provides a platform for subsequent reviews of the impact of the fruit and its constituents on physiological responses and underlying molecular actions that contribute to wellness.
Purpose: This book is the 44th in a series of reviews, each with the goal of providing industrial and academic researchers with an in-depth coverage of the current status of research on a major source of phytochemicals with medicinal potential. The bark, leaf, flower, fruit, and seed of the pomegranate tree have been used for centuries to ameliorate diseases. The editors and contributing authors provide timely reviews of the contemporary investigations of chemical constituents of the fruit and seed and the biochemical responses to prominent constituents and extracts of the fruit that likely play roles in disease processes. These efforts lay a foundation for continuing research as do the terminating chapters focused on the critical roles botanical factors and post-harvest technology play in optimizing these medicinal properties.
Audience: The reviews presented by eminent scientists in this book offer industrial and academic researchers a foundation for developing research protocols.
Features: The book opens with a comprehensive listing of the types and classes of phytochemicals (secondary plant metabolites) identified from pomegranate fruit (and tree) with a focus on those likely to be consumed. Subsequent chapters tend to focus on the impact of pomegranate juice rather than individual components on diverse activities that alter the course of diseases (stroke, cardiovascular disease, cancers), antioxidant and antimicrobial actions, and estrogenic activities. In the isolated studies employing specific constituents, the levels required for a definitive action tend to be much higher than those attained in bioavailability studies. Nevertheless, the significant physiological responses to pomegranate juice and fermented pomegranate juice support the concept that is the sum of the distinct responses triggered by the individual classes of phytochemicals that offers greater chemopreventive potency than that attained with the individual components. Responses to pomegranate fruit juice at the molecular level which impact on signal transduction pathways associated with chemopreventive activities are delineated in chapter 6 and again in chapter 7. This redundancy reinforces one's enthusiasm for encouraging the continuation of this line of research. Other than the figures presented in chapters 1 and 3, the remainder are rather pedestrian; captions are misplaced on two figures (6.1, 6.2).
Assessment: This series, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants - Industrial Profiles, offers critical updates on the potential benefits attained with the consumption of diverse plant materials. This book extends the offering.