Terpenes Chapter uri icon


  • Terpenes are the largest and most diverse group of naturally occurring compounds found in plants. They can be classified according to the number of isoprene units, the most common being monoterpenes (C10), sesquiterpenes (C15), diterpenes (C20), and triterpenes (C30). Besides being the principal constituents of essential oils and playing fundamental roles in plants, many terpenes are extensively used in pharmaceutical and industrial applications ranging from flavours to fragrances and medicines. Several studies have already demonstrated the diversity of terpenes’ biological properties, including cancer chemopreventive effects, antimicrobial, antiviral, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiparasitic, and other activities. This chapter compiles the various terpenes isolated from plants, their sources, biological activities and beneficial health effects, mechanism of action, extraction and applications, and the future perspective for using the terpenes as lead molecules in several areas of the industry.
  • The authors are grateful to the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, Portugal) for financial support through national funds FCT/MCTES to CIMO (UIDB/00690/2020). L. Barros thank the national funding by FCT through the institutional scientific employment programme-contract for their contract, while S. A. Heleno thank FCT through the individual scientific employment programme-contracts (CEECIND/03040/2017). R. Sprea also thank to FCT for his Ph.D. grant (2020.08092.BD).

publication date

  • 2023