Diversity is essential for chemical communication between organisms. In particular this has been demonstrated in current work on volatile compounds, which are active in insect-insect, insect-plant relations (semiochemicals such as pheromones, kairomones and allomones). Fundamental knowledge of the evolution of chemical signalling between organisms and the parallel evolution within receptor systems is important as the basis for the development of methods for control of pest organisms
Interactions between insects and plants form suitable model systems for studying the chemistry behind the olfactory coding mechanisms involved in insect reception, perception, and behaviour. To achieve necessary information about the chemically guided interactions, isolation, identification, and structure elucidation of the chemical signals followed by behavioural tests using various bioassay techniques are made on selected organisms.
The research needs experts in e.g. analytical chemistry, organic synthetic chemistry, biochemistry, ecology, ethology, molecular biology, neurophysiology, and polymer technology. Continuous development and modifications of methods for identifying the chemical signals are made using tools as SPME, GC/LC-MS, two-dimensional GC, NMR, and electrophysiology. Necessary bioassay techniques are developed in parallel.
Of fundamental interest is to utilizing our research results in the control of pest insects in order to develop a sustainable agriculture and forestry. Therefore, we have established a network in “Ecological chemistry”, comprising researchers from countries around the world.