My lab is investigating natural products produced by cyanobacteria. We have found that at least half of all cyanobacteria isolated from the environment show inhibitory activity against other photosynthetic organisms and some non-photosynthetic microorganisms. Using bioassay-guided fractionation, we are currently isolating and characterizing these active metabolites.
Eurasian milfoil and curly leaf pondweed are two invasive aquatic plants that grow to nuisance levels in many North American lakes. Although methods such as treatment with herbicides and harvesting are used to control the growth of these plants, they are only marginally effective and also affect non-target organisms. We are currently studying the factors that control dormancy in the vegetative buds of curly leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispis) to find a more defined and long term control method for this invasive plant.
PBio 4601/5601: Topics in Plant Biochemistry
Topic prereq - BIOL 1002 or BIOL 1009, CHEM 2301 (or comparable course in Organic Chemistry)
MEETS: 8:45 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., Tu, Th
ROOM 257, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES CENTER, ST. PAUL
The course covers the biochemistry of processes unique to photosynthetic organisms. Topics include photosynthesis and carbon dioxide fixation, primary metabolism, and natural products. Emphasis is placed on synthesis of carbohydrates, lipids and derivatives, aromatic compounds such as lignin, and other natural products such as alkaloids and peptides. The roles of natural products in plant-environmental interactions are discussed. The uses of natural products by humans are also reviewed.
Pre-requisites for the course are general biology and organic chemistry. Grading is done on an A-F basis. Grades are determined by written exams, homework assignments, and discussions/short written reports of papers from the scientific literature. Students who take the course at the 5601 level are required to write an additional paper on a selected topic from the literature and lead a class discussion on their topic
Marko, M.D., Newman, R.M., Gleason, F. K. (2005) Chemically mediated host-plant selection by the milfoil weevil: a freshwater insect-plant interaction. J. Chem. Ecol.31:2857-2876.
Marko, M.D., Gross, E.M., Newman, R.M., Gleason, F.K. (2008) Chemical profile of the North American native Myriophyllum sibiricum compared to the invasive M. spicatum. Aquatic Botany, 88:57-65.
Blumer, D. L., Newman, R.M., Gleason, F.K. (2009) Can hot water be used to kill Eurasian watermilfoil? J. Aq. Plant Management, 47:122-127.
Lee, E-S.J., and Gleason, F.K. (1994) A second algicidal natural product from the cyanobacterium, Scytonema hofmanni, Plant Science, 103:155-160.