Science for the benefit of people – ICNPU 2023

The 5th International Conference on Natural Products Utilization: “from Plants to Pharmacy shelf“ (ICNPU), was held from 30.05 – 2.06. 2023 in Sts. Constantine & Helena Resort, Varna, Bulgaria. ICNPU meetings traditionally cover the broad spectrum of plant applications, with a special focus on sustainable use of natural resources and the latest trends in areas such as pharmacology, toxicology, molecular biology and biotechnology.

The initiator and main organizer of the event is Prof. Dr. Milen Georgiev – President of the Bulgarian Phytochemical Society, Institute of Microbiology – BAS.

Initially, the fifth ICNPU was scheduled for 2021, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic it was postponed for 2023 in order to be held live. Thus, the event once again became a venue for informal discussions, with opportunities for professional networking, as well as gaining new insights into interesting topics.  The organising committee put together an exciting and varied scientific and social programme, that included presentations, discussions, poster sessions, a ‘get together’ party, a formal dinner and a hands-on tour of Balchik Botanical Garden, renowned for its collections of around 5000 plant species.

We believe that Bulgaria, as one of the most ancient European countries, provided unforgettable experiences and enriching moments for the participants. It was the combination of historical and natural riches that made the area of the Northern Black Sea coast so suitable for the event.

The scientific programme was enriching and innovative, thus giving specialists from around the world the opportunity to exchange significant knowledge and experience in interesting and rapidly developing disciplines. 

The conference started with a formal opening program, and continued with presentations on topical issues presented by highly respected experts in the field.

Among them were:

Prof. Dr. Maurizio Battinno

The healthy effects of common mechanisms involved
Universiteta Poltechnia delle Marche (Italy)

  Prof. Dr. Robert Verpoorte

Endophytes and secondary metabolism
Leiden University (The Netherlands)
Prof. Dr. Chin-Kun Wang

The improvement on gut and  brain by using EGCG and EGCG-fish oil ester
Medical University (Taiwan)
Prof. Dr. Jutta Ludwig-Muller

Bioactive cyclic pentapeptides from the plant endophyte Cyanodermella asteris: elucidating biosynthesis forprduction.
Technical University, Germany   

All of the topics, both of oral and poster presentations, were important for improving people’s quality of life.

We chose to present some of the most innovative ones:

“A new source of Omega 7 fatty acids – olive oil”Nazim Sekeroglu and Sevgi Gezici, Turkey

The focus of the presentation was on fatty oils, which are highly recommended by health and nutrition professionals and are of great interest to both the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids are well-known and important dietary fats that cannot be produced by the human body but have important health benefits.  It is known that nuts and seeds are examples of foods rich in fatty acids in particular. Recent studies have shown that extra virgin olive oil from the Kilis Yaglik olive variety can be a good source of Omega 7, which is beneficial for the skin and for cardiovascular prevention.

“The improvement of gut and brain by using ECGC, EGCG-fish oil ester” – Chin-Kun Wang, Taiwan

Numerous epidemiological studies have shown that phytochemicals are beneficial to human health by reducing oxidative stress associated with chronic diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and aging. Another significant benefit of oil intervention is that it significantly improves dementia in Alzheimer’s patients, especially great improvements are seen in individuals with early stages of dementia.

“Bitter Drinks: Time for a New Paradigm” – Michael K. McMullen, Sweden

The use of bitter plants to improve digestion has a long history and is found in many cultures. Southern Europeans have developed aperitifs that are drunk before and after meals and flavored with bitter and aromatic plants.

Although many consumers experience an improvement in digestion after consuming bitters, the mechanism by which bitters work is still difficult to determine. In the late 19th century, bitter drinks were thought to improve blood circulation in the intestines. This theory has been replaced by another, that bitter substances increase the production of saliva in the mouth and digestive secretions in the intestines. When the increase in heart rate is insufficient, blood pressure drops, leading to digestive and circulatory problems including stomach pain, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, etc.  The lecturer proves that the intake of certain types of plants, increases peripheral vascular resistance, which maintains normal blood pressure.

“History and medicinal properties of cannabis” – Ana Kuzmanovska and Biljana Bauer, North Macedonia

Cannabis is one of the oldest psychoactive plants known to mankind. It grows as a grass and cultivated plant all over the world in different climates and soils. Central Asia is believed to be a reliable place for the primary origin and early evolution of cannabis. The earliest known use of cannabis can be traced back to ancient China. There are numerous references to the medicinal use of cannabis recorded in ancient Egyptian medical documents. This document traces the history of cannabis from the earliest human contact with the Cannabis sativa L. plant to its subsequent global spread. Understanding the cultural and medical history of cannabis use is an important component for its successful integration into modern clinical practices. In the last few decades, its decriminalisation and legalisation for medicinal purposes has been driven by new scientific evidence of its potential.

“Anticancer effects of Citrus essential oil in an in vitro experimental model of resistant human acute lymphoblastic leukemia”Alessandro Maugeri, Sara Abdelfatah, Michele Navarra, Thomas Efferth from Italy and Germany.

Cancer is one of the most serious health problems in the developed world, with an estimated 17 million new cases and over 8 million deaths in 2020, a condition that is worsened by the increasing emergence of chemoresistance to standard chemotherapy methods. The effects of essential oils have been widely studied for their pharmacological value, including against chemoresistance.

Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the action of Citrus limon essential oil (LEO) in an in vitro experimental model of resistant human acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and to evaluate its mode of action

The obtained results proved that the constituents of the oil have valuable anticancer effects in both sensitive and resistant leukemia cells.

The event ended with the awarding of prizes for the best oral and poster presentations.  Among the winners were Monika Todorova, Danica Savic, Ana Rita Silva, Dona Panayotova, Ovinuchi Ejiohuo, Razvan Boiangiu, Anna Stasilowicz- Krzemien.

ICNPU 2023 has greatly helped professionals in the field to gain knowledge, broaden professional contacts and make unforgettable memories.

We are happy to have been part of it and to have contributed to its success!

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Science for the benefit of people – ICNPU 2023

The 5th International Conference on Natural Products Utilization: “from Plants to Pharmacy shelf“ (ICNPU), was held from 30.05 – 2.06. 2023 in Sts. Constantine & Helena Resort, Varna, Bulgaria.
ICNPU meetings traditionally cover the broad spectrum of plant applications, with a special focus on sustainable use of natural resources and the latest trends in areas such as pharmacology, toxicology, molecular biology and biotechnology.

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