When private companies that produce pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, cosmetics, flavouring, fragrances, and industrial enzymes seek plant material to integrate into their commercial products, their undertaking is often termed bioprospecting. Bioprospecting is usually conducted by private companies that search in a variety of ecosystems for certain parts of plants, ranging from barks to genetic material.
Although the task of bioprospecting seems to be beneficial in terms of producing important products such as medicines, it is an activity engulfed in politics between the global north (the “developed” world) and the south (or “underdeveloped” world). There have been several cases in which northern-based private companies have bioprospecting in southern ecosystems for particular plant enzymes. See South (southern countries), North (northern countries) and Ecosystem Services.