Antibodies (also known as immunoglobulins) are complex proteins generated by vertebrates that detect antigens (or molecular patterns) on pathogens and some hazardous chemicals to alert the adaptive immune system that pathogens are present. A plantibody is an antibody produced by plants that have had animal DNA encoding a specific human antibody known to neutralise a specific pathogen or toxin inserted into their DNA.
Antigens are substances that cause the immune system to create antibodies against them. Antigenic peptides found in the edible sections of plants can be used to make an edible active vaccination. The first is to express antigens in transgenic plants, while the second is to develop antigenic peptides on the surface of plant viruses that might be exploited to infect host plants.
Antimicrobial compounds can be found in abundance in nature. Numerous plant-derived chemicals have been shown to have antibacterial activities. Antimicrobial chemicals produced by plants are divided into four categories: phenolics and polyphenols, terpenoids and essential oils, lectins and polypeptides, and alkaloids.