Within the field of organic

Within the field of organic chemistry, the definition of natural products is usually restricted to mean purified organic compounds isolated from natural sources that are produced by the pathways of primary or secondary metabolism. Within the field of medicinal chemistry, the definition is often further restricted to secondary metabolites. Secondary metabolites are not essential for survival, but nevertheless provide organisms that produce them an evolutionary advantage. Many natural products are cytotoxic and have been selected and optimized through evolution for use as «chemical warfare» agents against, prey, predators, and competing organisms.