The Chemical Ecology Platform (CEP) at AU is a collaborative forum focusing on plant secondary compounds. The main activity is to establish a strong interdisciplinary platform at AU, which will strengthen the scientific capacity of the participating institutes. The platform will combine expertise and methodology already available across institutes and develop new methods for determination of presence and concentration of plant secondary compounds; in the soils, in cells, in membranes and in extracellular structures of organisms exposed to these compounds.
Background: Plants secondary compounds are a major contributor to Nature’s chemical diversity, and are present not only in plants, but also released to the atmosphere and the soil. They are involved in communication among plants and animals mediating both antagonistic and mutualistic interactions. They can have neurological impact on organisms as disparate as humans and insects. They are widely appreciated in pharmaceutical research due to their antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, as well as other types of interactions with biomolecules. In agriculture and horticulture, plant-secondary compounds are used as biological control agents. They have a strong impact on atmospheric chemistry, playing an important role in climate, and they can influence water transport and water retention in soil as well as affect the growth of organisms living there.
The Chemical Ecology Platform (CEP) study plant secondary compounds in very different disciplines, and the interdisciplinary collaboration on the methods and instruments used to detect and understand the flux, fate, and effect of these compounds can boost research in both individual disciplines and give rise to novel interdisciplinary projects.