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Industrially important natural products

Natural products and their derivatives have numerous applications in medicine and agriculture. Such applications include treatment of infectious diseases, cancer, transplant rejection, high blood pressure and obesity, as well as crop protection and animal health. Most natural products are produced industrially by fermentation of microorganisms.

Professor Greg Challis, Dr Christophe Corre, Dr Manuela Tosin and Dr Lijiang Song in the Department of Chemistry work on many different aspects of natural products from microorganisms, including:

  • Development of genomics-driven methodology for the discovery of novel natural products with potential applications in medicine and agriculture
  • Fundamental studies of the mechanisms of natural product biosynthesis
  • Development of synthetic biology approaches for production of natural product analogues


L. Laureti, L. Song, S. Huang, C. Corre, P. Leblond, G.L. Challis and B. Aigle. 'Identification of a bioactive 51-membered macrolide complex by activation of a silent polyketide synthase in Streptomyces ambofaciens.' Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2011, 108, 6258-6263.

P.K. Sydor, S. M. Barry, O.M. Odulate, F. Barona-Gomez, S.W. Haynes, C. Corre, L. Song, and G.L. Challis. 'Regio- and stereodivergent antibiotic oxidative carbocyclizations catalyzed by Rieske oxygenase-like enzymes.' Nat. Chem.2011, 3, 388-392.

Tosin, M.; Smith, L.; Leadlay, P. F. ‘Insights into Lasalocid A Ring Formation by Chemical Chain Termination in vivo’, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2011,50, 11930-11933.