From a Chemical Perspective. Whenever natural products (NPs) are purified from natural material, they retain some of the original metabolomic complexity of their biogenetic source. This relationship is perpetuated in the form of Residual Complexity (RC), which in principle affects all NPs regardless of how “pure” they are.
There are two principal forms of Residual Complexity (RC): Static RC and Dynamic RC.
Static RC refers to the form where the type and level of impurities remain constant over time. In contrast, in cases of dynamic RC impurity levels change over time, and/or the types of impurities change (as well).
From a Biological Perspective. The assessment and definition of biological activity typically involves complex systems, which exhibit a wide array of complexity ranging from relatively well-defined (e.g., enzyme binding assay) to highly complex and relatively poorly understood (e.g., in vivo study including clinical trial) systems. The interaction of a test agent with the biological target frequently retains some of the original complexity of the biological system. This relationship generates additional layers of Residual Complexity (RC), which in principle affects all bioassay regardless of how “highly defined” they are.
Addressing these questions is subject of ongoing research in our laboratory, and available data and evidence is being compiled in a Publication Series on Residual Complexity. In short, the following can be said to answer these questions:
Click here for a series of publications on the broader topic of Residual Complexity (RC) of Bioactive Natural Products.
The relationship between chemical and biological RC is discussed in the following publications:
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