Salix alba Morton

The bark and leaves of the willow tree contain salicin, a precursor to aspirin.

Bioprospecting describes the process of identification, extraction and utilization of biological resources to be used for research or commercialization[1][2] . Early instances of bioprospecting began when people noticed certain plants could be used for medicinal purposes. Today scientists have been able to identify the active components of these organisms and use this information to create syntheic versions of the original compounds. Bioprospecting can also include genomic studies aimed at identifying potential genes of interest for drug targeting, or genetic screening for different diseases. In addition to the biomedical industry, bioprospecting is used in the environmental industry where some groups are searching for biofuel producing microalgae as an alternative to fossil fuels[3] . When information is used for profit from indigenous people without permission or compensation, legal issues can arise resulting in biopiracy[4]




3. T. Mutanda, D.Ramesh, S. Karthikeyan, S. Kumari, A. Anandraj, F. Bux, Bioprospecting for hyper-lipid producing microalgal strains for sustainable biofule production, Bioresource Technology, Volume 102, Issue 1, January 2011, pages 57-70, ISSN 0960-8524 paper

4. The Limitations of Good Intent: Problems of Representation and Informed Consent in the Maya ICBG Project in Chiapas, Mexico Dafna Feinholz-Klip, Luis García Barrios, Julie Cook Lucas