Naturally-occurring compounds have been, and continue to be, an important source of new leads and of commercially successful products for various industrial sectors, notably pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. The conference, Functional Molecules from Natural Sources, held at Magdalen College, Oxford, in July 2009 set out to highlight current trends, challenges and successes in the exploitation of natural products from microbial, plant and marine sources. Based on the proceedings of this conference, the main themes of this book are modern and emerging perspectives on natural product utilization and improved strategies for natural products exploitation. It provides case studies on important natural product leads (functional molecules) and their enhancement. These take account of new medical applications, and advances in the understanding and manipulation of natural product biosynthesis at the genetic level. Highlights include an authoritative review of the entire field of natural anticancer agents, (with an emphasis on those currently in clinical development); an account of the optimisation of the pleuromutilin antibiotic template for human use, and a comprehensive description of the research programme that resulted in the discovery of platensimycin. Aricles on biosynthesis include studies of the antibiotics of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2), the anthrax siderophore petrobactin, and the modification of oxidation and glycosylation events in the biosynthesis of mithramycins. Written by leading industrial experts from each sector, the book offers a unique blend of industrial and academic perspectives. It summarizes new approaches to optimising the exploitation of naturally occurring compounds within the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and agrochemicals industries. New approaches to optimising the exploitation of naturally occurring compounds (including the genetics of natural product biosynthesis), novel screening technologies and recent advances in characterization methods are also covered.