The NMR group is in charge of the NMR laboratory of the institute. One NMR spectrometer is available for self-service, two more spectrometers with cryogenically cooled probe heads are for assisting other groups and departments of the institute with NMR measurements, and for independent NMR-based projects. Our research focuses on structure elucidation of ecologically relevant low-molecular weight secondary metabolites from plants and other organisms, investigations on the tissue- and cell-specific occurrence of natural products, and on stable isotope labeling studies of biosynthetic and metabolic pathways. In particular, we are interested in the elucidation of biosynthetic intermediates in vivo by cryogenic NMR spectroscopy or HPLC-MS-NMR coupling. Additionally, the group offers service and assistance in the production of stable-isotope enriched metabolites using wet chemical methods or from plant [13C]CO2 incubation experiments.
Major projects encompass the following classes of plant secondary metabolites:
- Phenylphenalenons, a group of unusual phenylpropanoid-derived phytoalexins and plant pigments occurring in the Haemodoraceae, Musaceae, and the Pontederiaceae families;
- Salicinoids from Populus and related species and their metabolism in herbivores;
- Nudicaulins, a group of indole-phenylpropanoid hybrid alkaloids from Island poppy (Papaver nudicaule)
Further NMR-based projects on plant defense natural products and signaling compounds are carried out in collaboration with other departments of the institute and external partners.
Research Projects of Group Members
Doctoral Researcher Hui Lyu
Hui Lyu’s PhD project deals with the biosynthesis of phenylphenalenons and related compounds in Musaceae plants. Phenylphenalenons are regarded as phytoalexins in leaves or phytoanticipins in roots. We are interested in the function of phenylphenalenons in all plant parts.
Doctoral Researcher Florian Schnurrer
The focus of Florian Schnurrer’s PhD project is the salicinoid metabolism in specialist herbivores adapted to Populus and Salix species. We identified the main salicinoid metabolism in Cerura vinula (Notodontidae) and related species by stable isotope feeding experiments. Furthermore, the identification of enzymes involved in the metabolism are part of the project.