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Airborne Organisms as a Source of Natural Product Derived Agrochemicals


Our overall goal is to find organisms that produce natural products with superior agricultural utility over analogs currently in use.1) Develop techniques and methods to extract microbes from the air. We will initially pursue car cabin air filters, as they are readily available as trash from auto repair shops, and contain microbes from a large sample area.2) Optimization isolation of microbes and their DNA from the air filter matrix. Comparison of the raw environmental DNA from the sample and genomic DNA of microbes that grow under laboratory conditions will allow us to determine which types of microbes are lost during isolation.3) Build a library of microbes and characterize their properties in comparison to traditionally isolated microbes. This will address our hypothesis that natural product producing microbes from the air are more hearty and diverse than those isolated from soils.4) Isolate natural product extracts from the microbes and test them for cytotoxic, antibacterial and antifungal activity. We will seek out collaborators to test the extracts for insecticide and herbicide activity. This will reveal which organisms are to be further pursued for the isolation of individual natural products.5) Examine individual natural products to determine if they are superior to currently used versions. NMR will be used to reveal how the natural product structures relate to known compounds, and subsequently they will be analyzed for chemical and physical stability.

Lohman, Jeremy
Purdue University
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