This question was already posed by the botanist and founder of Chemical Ecology, Ernst Stahl, at the end of the 19th century in Jena. More than a hundred years later chemists from Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena (Germany) found a possible answer: “Moss is capable of building up chemical compounds that protect them from enemies,” says Prof. Dr. Georg Pohnert of Jena University. Ernst Stahl had come to the same conclusion after tests.
Now the holder of the Chair of Instrumental analytics and his team succeeded in identifying these compounds and in proving their pest repellent properties beyond doubt. The chemists working with Prof. Pohnert published their research results in the latest edition of the german trade journal “Angewandte Chemie”.
What spoils the snails´ appetite for moss are so called oxylipins. “These are compounds which are formed from unsaturated fatty acids by pathways involving oxidation when the moss is being damaged,“ Prof. Pohnert explains. The Jena chemists analysed the moss “Dicranum scoparium”, also known as ordinary Broom Fork-moss that can be found in nearly all European woods. During their research the scientists found many formerly unknown compounds, among them new, very unusual oxylipins.
“Motivated by the observation that in other organisms, oxylipins often work directly as defence metabolites or are part of the regulation of defence mechanisms, we have analysed the impact of these compounds more accurately,” says Prof. Pohnert, who, along with his group, so far focused on the chemical defence strategies of marine organisms. To prove the retardant impact of oxylipins against snail damage, Jena scientists engaged two well known “experts” - the slugs “Arion lusitanicus” which were being offered two salad leaves. One leaf was treated with oxylipins that had been extracted from moss; the other salad leaf had only been sprayed with the solvent methanol. “Almost without exception the snails choose the leaves that didn’t contain oxylipins, even when we diluted the substances a thousand times in comparison to the concentration in moss,” reports Martin Rempt, a postgraduate in Pohnert´s team.
Prof. Pohnert thinks that these results could be used in the future to develop an organic repellent against slugs and other pests. That would be an ecological alternative to so-called “Schneckenkorn” (Snail Poison) that very often poses a potential danger not only for birds and other enemies of snails, but also for pets. The research will be extended to further moss species in the future.Original publication:
Marie Schneider | idw
Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University
Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy