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Chemical Ecology & Natural Products Laboratory

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Maria Konstantopoulou, Research Director

Dimitris Raptopoulos, Graduate Research Associate (PhD)

Eleni Koutsoumpeli, Postdoctoral Fellow

Anastasia Fytrou, Postdoctoral Fellow

Petri-Christina Betsi, Graduate Research Associate (MSc)

Ioanna Dasenanki, Graduate Research Associate (MSc)

Neoklis Manikas, PhD candidate

Research activities

  • Chemical ecology: isolation and identification of biologically active compounds, relating to insect chemical communication and plant – insect interactions (pheromones, volatile compounds of plant origin etc.) that may be used in integrated pest management programs.
  • Isolation and identification of secondary metabolites (mainly of plant origin) acting on insect physiology and/or behavior (behavior modifying agents - infochemicals). Laboratory and field evaluation of bioactivity of the isolated metabolites; study of their mode of action. Chemical synthesis of semiochemicals (infochemicals).
  • Development of specialized dispensers for semiochemicals acting as attractants/repellants for insects and technologies for their application in pest control. Biodegradable materials endowed with controlled- release rate and UV protection properties.
  • Development of biocides of biological origin (Biological Control Agents. BCAs) and methods/technologies of application, aiming to incorporating them in integrated management methods for pest of agricultural and urban environment but also for pests of public health concern such as mosquitoes
  • Precision Agriculture and Smart Farming Applications.
  • Biochemistry of insect olfactory receptors with emphasis on the localization and isolation of protein receptors for semiochemicals.
  • Microorganisms and Biotechnology: Isolation of naturally occurring microorganisms and their biologically active secondary metabolites (toxins) aiming to their incorporation in insect population management.

Selected Publications

  1. i.            Dasenaki, I.; Betsi, P.-C.; Raptopoulos, D.; Konstantopoulou, M. Insecticidal Effect of Pistacia lentiscus (Anacardiaceae) Metabolites against Lobesia botrana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Agronomy 2022, 12, 755
  2. ii.            Petkevicius Karolis, Koutsoumpeli Eleni, Betsi Petri Christina, Ding Bao-Jian, Kildegaard Kanchana Rueksomtawin, Jensen Hilbert, Mezo Nora, Mazziotta Andrea, Gabrielsson Anders, Sinkwitz Christina, Lorantfy Bettina, Holkenbrink Carina, Löfstedt Christer, Raptopoulos Dimitris, Konstantopoulou Maria, Borodina Irina, 2021. Biotechnological production of the European corn borer sex pheromone in the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. Biotechnology Journal 2100004
  3. iii.            Holkenbrink C., Ding B.J., Wang H.L., Dam M.I., Petkevicius K., Kildegaard, Leonie Wenning K.R., Sinkwitz Ch., Lorántfy B., Koutsoumpeli E., França L., Pires M., Bernardi C., Urrutia W., Mafra-Neto A., Ferreira B.S., Raptopoulos D., Konstantopoulou M., Löfstedt Ch., Borodina I. 2020. Production of moth pheromones for pest control by yeast fermentation. Metabolic Engineering 62: 312-321.
  4. iv.            Kikionis Stefanos, Efstathia Ioannou, Maria Konstantopoulou, Vassilios Roussis 2017. Electrospun micro/nanofibers as controlled release systems for pheromones of Bactrocera oleae and Prays oleae. Journal of Chemical Ecology 43: 254-262.
  5. v.            Kröber Thomas, Konstantinos Koussis, Martine Bourquin, Panagiota Tsitoura, Maria Konstantopoulou, Taiwo S. Awolola, Francesca R. Dani, Huili Qiao, Paolo Pelosi, Kostas Iatrou and Patrick M. Guerin 2017 Odorant-binding protein-based identification of natural spatial repellents for the Africa malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 96: 36-50.

Recent Research Funding

HORIZON 2020, BIOTEC-06-20417, H2020-NMBP-2016-2017: OLEFINE “Oleaginous yeast platforms for Fine chemicals”. Start date: 1/1/2018 End Date: 30/6/2022.  

HORIZON 2020, Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking, PHERA “Pheromones for Row crop Applications” (Subcontractor) Start date: 1/3/2020 End Date: 30/9/2023.

OPENSCREEN-GR: An Open-Access Research Infrastructure of Target-Based Screening Technologies and Chemical Biology for Human and Animal Health, Agriculture and the Environment, NSRF 2014-2020. Start date: 1/1/2018 End Date: 31/12/2021.


Research dissemination