High value compounds
The most diverse group of bioactive and high-value natural products
Plants are capable of producing an impressive variety of specialised metabolites. Among those, terpenoids represent the evolutionary oldest, by far most complex and structurally diverse class. These natural products fulfil a broad range of biological functions in plants, such as in development, defence and communication.
Choice of plants to study
Our plants of interest often have a long history in traditional medicine and ethnobotany. The range of pharmacological activities and industrial applications is very broad. Terpenoids are for example used for effective treatment of cancer and malaria, and were shown to have analgesic, antimicrobial, contraceptive as well as psychoactive properties, next to use as flavours, fragrances, biopesticides and fine chemicals.
Our research focuses on high-value terpenoids with pharmacological or biological activity, yet with limited natural sources. The terpenoid research group aims at (1) elucidation of the terpenoid biosynthesis and their role in plants and (2) establishment of engineered platforms for sustainable production of economically important terpenoids in green cells.