Alexander Krüger

Scientific Guest

Research focus

 

Synthetic pesticides in agriculture are a threat not only to pests but also to important insects, such as pollinators. These compounds are one important cause of the decline of insects. To develop sustainable alternative strategies for pest management, we have to understand the biology and the ecological interactions of pest organisms with their host plants and their microbiome.

The agricultural important plant family Brassicaceae evolved a defense mechanism by producing glucosinolates. These glucosinolates are hydrolyzed to toxic isothiocyanates, nitriles and further breakdown products through mechanical damage. However, some herbivores evolved counter mechanisms to this defense strategy. The larvae of Delia radicum, the cabbage root fly, and Delia floralis, the turnip root fly, are specialized on Brassica plant roots and adapted to the plant defenses. It is unclear whether the larvae themselves neutralize the plant defenses or if they rely on their gut microbiome for this process. I am highly interested in insect-microbe interactions, and aim to answer this open question by examining the importance of gut microbes for the larvae. I will do so by studying glucosinolate breakdown products that are produced by larvae or microbes using LC-MS/MS and the expression of detoxification genes using qPCR procedures.

Keywords

 

Biological pest control, glucosinolates, isothiocynates, detoxification mechanisms, insect- microbe interactions, endosymbionts, microbe – host interactions.

Short CV

 

2020 – now

Master student and research assistant in Molecular Interaction Ecology (MIE) research group at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig.

2019 – now

Master of Science in Evolution, Ecology and Systematics at Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, Germany.

• Tutor for the basic Ecology course for Bachelor students.

• Major academic interests: Molecular and Chemical Interaction Ecology, Entomology, Microbial Ecology, Population Ecology, Biodiversity Research.

2016 – 2019

Bachelor of Science in Biology at University of Bremen.

Bachelor thesis: “Interaction between Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans”.

• Major academic highlights: Microbial Ecology, Evolutionary Ecology, Ecology, Population Ecology, Insect determination group (focus on aquatic insects).

• Student assistance: Ecology praxis course (Oviposition experiments with parasitic wasps), ArcTrain project at MARUM (Identification of Foraminifera).

2013 – 2016

Abitur at Abendgymnasium Hannover.

Term paper: “Comparison of chosen animal toxins” in mathematics.

2010 – 2013

Vocational training for biological technical assistant Sabine Blindow Schulen, Hannover.

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