We investigate how organisms interact with chemical signals.

Welcome to the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

We investigate how organisms interact with chemical signals.

We do research in the lab to better understand interactions at a molecular level.

Photo: Anna Schroll

We do research in the glasshouse and in the field to better understand interactions and signals in their natural environment.

Photo: Anna Schroll

Training and international collaborations are key features of our work.

We believe diversity and inclusion leads to the best science.

Research News

Gut enzyme in cockchafer larvae activates dandelion defense mechanism

October 25, 2021
Removing the sugar component from a toxin in dandelion roots increases larval growth while simultaneously deterring the larvae from feeding.

Learning helps tobacco hawkmoths to select a nectar source and oviposition site more efficiently

September 27, 2021
Learned odors influence the moths' preferences for certain flowers and host plants. Olfactory sensory cells on the proboscis, on the other hand, play no role in learning.

The evolution of vinegar flies is based on the variation of male sex pheromones

July 06, 2021
Max Planck researchers decipher the chemical language underlying mating in 99 species of the genus Drosophila.

Current News and Announcements


Salem, H.; Kaltenpoth, M.: Beetle-bacterial symbioses: Endless forms most functional. Annual Review of Entomology 67, pp. 201 - 219 (2022)
Smith, H. E.; Price, G. J.; Duval, M.; Westaway, K.; Zaim, J.; Rizal, Y.; Aswan; Puspaningrum, M. R.; Trihascaryo, A.; Stewart, M. et al.; Louys, J.: Taxonomy, taphonomy and chronology of the Pleistocene faunal assemblage at Ngalau Gupin cave, Sumatra. Quaternary International 603, pp. 40 - 63 (2021)
Chakraborty, M.; Mahmud, N. U.; Ullah, C.; Rahman, M.; Islam, T.: Biological and biorational management of blast diseases in cereals caused by Magnaporthe oryzae. Critical Reviews in Biotechnology 41 (7), pp. 994 - 1022 (2021)


The biochemist and director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena has been elected member of the German National Academy of Sciences.
Sarah O'Connor to receive the 2022 Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products of the American Chemical Society.
The young Max Planck researcher studied how poplars defend themselves against two attackers at the same time: voracious caterpillars and pathogenic fungi.

Events and Seminars

Guillermo Jimenez Aleman

SARS-CoV-2 fears green: the chlorophyll catabolite Pheophorbide a is a potent antiviral
Oct 28, 2021 16:00 - 17:00
Hybrid lecture (online via zoom & MPI-CE, A1.009 + A1.011)

Erik Poelman

title to be announced
Nov 10, 2021 14:00 - 15:00
online via zoom

Ute A. Hellmich

Exploring the structural dynamics of (membrane) proteins from microbe to man
Nov 17, 2021 14:00 - 15:00
Hybrid lecture (online via zoom & MPI-CE, A1.009 + A1.011)
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