Redouan Adam Anaia starts his PhD project at MIE
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Redouan Adam Anaia has joined the Molecular Interaction Ecology group at the German Centre for Integrated Biodiversity Research (iDiv) as a PhD student. Adam will work on the the chemodiversity of Solanum dulcamara, commonly known as the bittersweet or climbing nightshade, a wild plant related to important agricultural crops such as potato, tomato and eggplant. The leaves of S. dulcamara contain high levels of steroidal glycoalkaloids (SGAs), which are important chemical defense compounds against various attackers including insect herbivores. It has been recently discovered that wild S. dulcamara populations contain several heritable polymorphisms, which gives rise to a high diversity of steroidal glycoalkaloid (SGAs) between but also within populations. The structures of SGAs differ at three levels: saturation (presence/absence of double bond), configuration (stereochemistry of the spiro carbon at the fusion of the E and F rings) and conjugation (glycosylation with different sugar moieties or uronic acids). Interestingly, this chemodiversity can have consequences for herbivore feeding preferences.
Adam aims to apply a multi-disciplinary approach in his research, combining metabolomics, organic chemistry, preference assays and field trials. This will include:
- A comprehensive metabolomics assessment of SGA variation and other defenses over different plant organs considering different S. dulcamara ecotypes.
- Organic synthesis of a set of compounds representative for the three levels of SGA structural variation and assessment of SGA type frequency and diversity on herbivore preference.
- A field-trial in which the ecological costs and benefits of different chemotypes will be assessed.
This work is performed as part of the DFG-funded Research Unit investigating the “Ecology and Evolution of Intraspecific Chemodiversity of Plants”.