Natural Products Chemistry

Natural Products Chemistry

Description

We study metabolites from food and wine, and isolate and characterise novel bioactive compounds from New Zealand and the Pacific region.

Expertise

We study metabolites from food and wine, and isolate and characterise novel bioactive compounds from New Zealand and the Pacific region.

Research Focus

Bioactives

Bioactive natural products are a significant source of lead compounds for the development of clinically useful pharmaceuticals. Bio–prospecting is a valuable source of drug leads.

Extremophiles

Microorganisms that exist in extreme ecosystems with temperatures up to 100°C are a very valuable resource for the discovery of novel natural products. To live in such conditions, the organism must develop a unique biochemistry, and that enables unique natural products to be made.

Extreme ecological niches, such as New Zealand's geothermal systems in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, are now seen as a source of unexplored microbial diversity, as they tend to select for novel microbial strains.

In a collaborative project with GNS Science, microbiologists have cultured many of these novel extremophilic strains and identified the first representative of a new bacterial phylum.

Wine

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wine is renowned world–wide. To understand wine flavour and aroma, we must understand the volatile compounds that are responsible. Two classes of compound are important in Sauvignon Blanc—volatile sulphur compounds and methoxypyrazines.

Unique Capability Proposition

Aside from their capability areas in natural products chemistry, this group also has access to excellent facilities including a 600MHz spectrometer, liquid chromatography mass spectrometry equipment, and access to bioactivity profiling and cell-based testing facilities.

Past Successes

Received Tech Jumpstart funding in 2010 for Wine project.