We are interested in the role of chemical compounds for the communication and interaction between fungi and other organisms. So far, especially the importance of chemical signalling compounds for the defence of plants against herbivors has been investigated. By production of volatiles, certain plants are able to attract predators of the herbivors. Concerning higher fungi, however, there are only some investigations on their chemical ecology, although they are as well subject to attacks from other organisms. Recently, we demonstrated that Aleurodiscus amorphus (German name: Orangerote Mehlscheibe) is able to liberate hydrocyanic acid via an oxidative mechanism so far unknown in nature. By these means A. amorphus is able to protect itself effectively from predators (Figure 1.) [read more]
Figure 1. The chemical defence of Aleurodiscus amorphus
Higher fungi produce a vast variety of bioactive secondary metabolites, whose structures often distinguish considerably from those isolated from plants. We are isolating new natural products from higher fungi and are interested to elucidate their inportance for the corresponding fungus. Besides other compounds we isolated in different Mycena species a number of new pyrroloquinoline alkaloids (Figure 3) [read more] So far, alkaloids of this type have been isolated nearly exclusively from marine organisms. Some of the representatives from marine organisms attracted considerable interest due to their antitumour active properties.
Figure 2. Pyrroloquinoline alkaloids from Mycena species (Mycena rosea)
We perform feeding experiments with isotopically labelled potential biosynthetic precursors to elucidate the biosynthesis of selected natural products.