Pharmacognosy and Environmental Toxicology

Dott.ssa Maria Carrara
Prof.ssa Guglielmina Froldi
Dott.ssa Genny Orso



In vitro methods have become a cornerstone of drug discovery and are widely applied to the study of natural products, raw extracts, and isolated compounds, both for screening and mechanistic studies.


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  1. The Ethnomedicinal Approach. The decision to investigate a particular plant species is very often determined by the fact that the plant is already being used for some purpose, possibly medicinally. This would constitute an ethnopharmacological approach to plant selection and would apply to a vast number of investigations. The testing of the plant extracts and any isolated compounds can be guided by what the plant is traditionally used for, and any positive results would serve to validate the use of the plant as well as provide useful leads for further drug development. The ethnomedicinal approach allows for an increased possibility of finding an active compound as well as a means of documenting and preserving local knowledge. 
  2. Synergy research. The multi-drug strategy is based on along awareness that many diseases have a multi-causal aetiology and a complex pathophysiology. In this context, it must be noted that not only plant mono-extracts or extract combinations are able to exhibit synergy effects, but also single natural products or extracts in combinations with chemosynthetics or antibiotics.

Guglielmina Froldi


Eco-sustainable Pesticides 

Eco-sustainable pesticides are compounds designed for pest control and preservation of environmental biodiversity.

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Goal of this project is to design rat-specific compounds safe for non-rat species, including humans. In particular, we are investigating the molecular mechanism of action of norbormide, a selective rat toxicant. Norbormide induces death because it triggers a profound and irreversible constriction of the rat peripheral arteries that cannot be observed in non-rat species. The characterization of the molecular mechanism of norbormide might lead to the development of species and tissue-selective eco-sustainable pesticides.
Sergio Bova