HomePh.D. Study at IOCBArchive - 2009Organic Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

Tutor Doc. RNDr. Irena Valterová, CSc.
Team Irena Valterová
Topic Chemical ecology of termites

The chief aim of this topic is to clarify the origin and the evolution of several unique chemo-ecological traits of the termite families Rhinotermitidae, Serritermitidae, and Termitidae. The attention would be paid to a group of basal ‘core termite’ genera Prorhinotermes, Termitogeton, Psammotermes, Glossotermes, and Serritermes, will focus on the research in the composition of frontal and sternal gland secretions. Frontal gland is large, sac-like defensive organ of soldiers; its secretion may contain plentiful different chemical components, including mono-, sesqui-, and diterpenoid hydrocarbons, alcohols, ethers, ketoaldehydes, fatty acids, macrocyclic lactones, etc. Sternal gland produces trail-following and recruitment pheromones, usually alcohols or aldehydes of 12 to 15 carbon chains. Frontal gland secretion can be collected directly into capillary tube, whilst sternal glands will be dissected and extracted or their secretion will be collected using SPME fibres. The prepared samples will subsequently be studied using modern analytical approaches including GCxGC-MS. Acquired results will be mapped on a phylogenetic tree constructed using the sequences of selected genes; phylogenetic relationships will serve as a background for inferring evolutionary history of the biochemical characteristics.