Wittko Francke

University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

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Publications (365)949.83 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Male-specific volatile components, released by the dried bean beetle, Acanthoscelides obtectus, were identified as methyl (E,R)-2,4,5-tetradecatrienoate, methyl (2E,4Z,7Z)-2,4,7-decatrienoate, methyl (2E,4Z)-2,4-decadienoate, octadecanal and the sesquiterpenes (3Z,6E)- and (3E,6E)-α-farnesene. In olfactometer bioassays, pure methyl (E,R)-2,4,5-tetradecatrienoate was only weakly attractive to unmated females. However, a blend of the six identified compounds released in physiologically relevant ratios and doses proved to be as active as headspace odours collected from live males.
    European Journal of Organic Chemistry 05/2015; DOI:10.1002/ejoc.201500196 · 3.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The sex pheromone of the cloaked pug moth, Eupithecia abietaria G€otze, an important cone-feeding pest in spruce seed orchards in Europe, was investigated. Chemical and electrophysiological analyses of pheromone gland extracts of female moths and analogous analyses of synthetic hydrocarbons and epoxides of chain length C19 and C21 revealed (3Z,6Z,9Z)-3,6,9-nonadecatriene (3Z,6Z,9Z-19:H) and 3Z,6Z-cis-9,10- epoxynonadecadiene (3Z,6Z-cis-9,10-epoxy-19:H) as candidate pheromone components, which were found in a gland extract in a ratio of 95 : 5. In field trapping experiments, conspecific males were only attracted to a combination of 3Z,6Z,9Z-19:H and the (9S,10R)-enantiomer of 3Z,6Z-cis-9,10-epoxy-19:H. The (9R,10S)-enantiomer was not attractive, which is in agreement with studies on other Eupithecia species, for which males have only been attracted by the (9S,10R)-enantiomer of epoxides. Subsequent experiments showed that E. abietaria males were attracted to a wide range of ratios of the two active compounds and that trap catches increased with increasing dose of the binary blend. A twocomponent bait containing 300 lg 3Z,6Z,9Z-19:H and 33 lg of the (9S,10R)-enantiomer of 3Z,6Z-cis-9,10-epoxy-19:H was efficient for monitoring E. abietaria in spruce seed orchards in southern Sweden, where this species has probably been overlooked as an important pest in the past. With sex pheromones recently identified for two other moths that are major pests on spruce cones, the spruce seed moth, Cydia strobilella L., and the spruce coneworm, Dioryctria abietella Denis & Schifferm€uller, pheromone- based monitoring can now be achieved for the whole guild of conefeeding moths in European spruce seed orchards.
    Journal of Applied Entomology 05/2015; 139:352-360. · 1.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Analysis of the pheromone gland extract of females of the click beetle Agriotes sordidus (Illiger), revealed the presence of geranyl hexanoate (GH) and (E,E)-farnesyl hexanoate (FH) in an approximate ratio of 1:1. In the female-released volatiles collected by headspace extraction, GH was a dominant component with FH present only in trace amounts. In field trapping tests GH on its own captured high numbers of A. sordidus adults, whereas the addition of FH in various proportions had no effect on captures. A closer scrutiny of adults caught in GH-baited traps revealed that 10–40 % of them were females. Significantly higher numbers of both female and male beetles were attracted to traps baited with GH as compared to unbaited controls showing a clear dose–response relationship with higher doses catching more beetles. In electroantennogram (EAG) tests responses of female and male antennae to a number of known click beetle pheromone components showed the same trend in both sexes, giving the highest answers to GH. This suggests that female and male antennae are similar with respect to the perception of pheromone components, and that GH shows some activity as an aggregation pheromone.
    Chemoecology 02/2015; 25(1). DOI:10.1007/s00049-014-0170-5 · 1.96 Impact Factor
  • Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society 01/2015; DOI:10.5935/0103-5053.20150040 · 1.25 Impact Factor
  • Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting 2014; 11/2014
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    ABSTRACT: The sex pheromone of the cloaked pug moth, Eupithecia abietaria Götze, an important cone-feeding pest in spruce seed orchards in Europe, was investigated. Chemical and electrophysiological analyses of pheromone gland extracts of female moths and analogous analyses of synthetic hydrocarbons and epoxides of chain length C19 and C21 revealed (3Z,6Z,9Z)-3,6,9-nonadecatriene (3Z,6Z,9Z-19:H) and 3Z,6Z-cis-9,10-epoxynonadecadiene (3Z,6Z-cis-9,10-epoxy-19:H) as candidate pheromone components, which were found in a gland extract in a ratio of 95 : 5. In field trapping experiments, conspecific males were only attracted to a combination of 3Z,6Z,9Z-19:H and the (9S,10R)-enantiomer of 3Z,6Z-cis-9,10-epoxy-19:H. The (9R,10S)-enantiomer was not attractive, which is in agreement with studies on other Eupithecia species, for which males have only been attracted by the (9S,10R)-enantiomer of epoxides. Subsequent experiments showed that E. abietaria males were attracted to a wide range of ratios of the two active compounds and that trap catches increased with increasing dose of the binary blend. A two-component bait containing 300 μg 3Z,6Z,9Z-19:H and 33 μg of the (9S,10R)-enantiomer of 3Z,6Z-cis-9,10-epoxy-19:H was efficient for monitoring E. abietaria in spruce seed orchards in southern Sweden, where this species has probably been overlooked as an important pest in the past. With sex pheromones recently identified for two other moths that are major pests on spruce cones, the spruce seed moth, Cydia strobilella L., and the spruce coneworm, Dioryctria abietella Denis & Schiffermüller, pheromone-based monitoring can now be achieved for the whole guild of cone-feeding moths in European spruce seed orchards.
    Journal of Applied Entomology 09/2014; 139(5). DOI:10.1111/jen.12167 · 1.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Representatives of the highly speciose tropical butterfly genus Bicyclus (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) are characterized by morphological differences in the male androconia, a set of scales and hair pencils located on the surface of the wings. These androconia are assumed to be associated with the release of courtship pheromones. In the present study, we report the identification and biosynthetic pathways of several novel esters from the wings of male B. martius sanaos. We found that the volatile compounds in this male butterfly were similar to female-produced moth sex pheromones. Components associated with the male wing androconial areas were identified as ethyl, isobutyl and 2-phenylethyl hexadecanoates and (11Z)-11-hexadecenoates, among which the latter are novel natural products. By topical application of deuterium-labelled fatty acid and amino acid precursors, we found these pheromone candidates to be produced in patches located on the forewings of the males. Deuterium labels from hexadecanoic acid were incorporated into (11Z)-11-hexadecenoic acid, providing experimental evidence of a Δ11-desaturase being active in butterflies. This unusual desaturase was found previously to be involved in the biosynthesis of female-produced sex pheromones of moths. In the male butterflies, both hexadecanoic acid and (11Z)-11-hexadecenoic acid were then enzymatically esterified to form the ethyl, isobutyl and 2-phenylethyl esters, incorporating ethanol, isobutanol, and 2-phenylethanol, derived from the corresponding amino acids L-alanine, L-valine, and L-phenylalanine. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10886-014-0452-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    Journal of Chemical Ecology 06/2014; 40(6). DOI:10.1007/s10886-014-0452-y · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Females of the parasitoid wasp Trichogramma turkestanica produce the putative polydeoxypropionates (2E,4E,6S,8S,10S)-4,6,8,10-tetramethyltrideca-2,4-diene and (2E,4E,6S,8S,10S)-4,6,8,10-tetramethyltrideca-2,4-dien-1-ol or their enantiomers as sex specific volatiles. The structures were assigned on the basis of GC-MS investigations using synthetic reference compounds.
    Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry 01/2014; 10:767-73. DOI:10.3762/bjoc.10.72 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    John A. Byers, Göran Birgersson, Wittko Francke
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    ABSTRACT: The bark beetles Pityogenes bidentatus and Pityogenes quadridens (Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Scolytinae) are sibling species that feed and reproduce in bark areas on branches of Scotch pine, Pinus sylvestris. To identify aggregation pheromone components of both species, hindguts and head/thoraxes of males and females of both species feeding in hosts were extracted in pentane and analyzed by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Hindguts of male P. bidentatus contained grandisol as the major component along with small amounts of (4S)-cis-verbenol and other monoterpenes. Dose–response bioassays in the laboratory showed the components were attractive at 0.2 ng/min to walking beetles from a distance of ≥25 cm. In the field in southern Sweden, grandisol and (4S)-cis-verbenol were weakly attractive alone when released at rates of 0.05 and 0.5 mg/day, respectively, from a slow-rotating trap pair. Catch increased 3.6- to 13-fold when the two components were released together. The male proportion of the catch was 0.8 early in the flight period, declined to 0.5 on the peak flight day, and then declined further during the next 2 weeks to 0.2 on the last day of the flight period. Hindguts of male P. quadridens contained (2S,5R)- and (2S,5S)-chalcogran, as well as (E)-2-(3,3-dimethylcyclohexylidene)ethanol (E-grandlure 2) and E/Z-mixture of 2-(3,3-dimethylcyclohexylidene)acetaldehyde (grandlures 3 and 4), while female hindguts had only a trace amount of chalcogran. Laboratory studies proved E-grandlure 2 is an essential pheromone component for P. quadridens. Field bioassays with a slow-rotating trap pair in which the attractiveness of blends containing various candidate components were compared with that of less complete mixtures, showed that chalcogran and E-grandlure 2 were synergistic aggregation pheromone components of P. quadridens. Field tests also showed that grandisol (from P. bidentatus) reduced attraction of P. quadridens to its aggregation pheromone, whereas E-grandlure 2 and chalcogran (from P. quadridens) reduced response of P. bidentatus to its aggregation pheromone. Our results suggest that aggregation pheromone components from males of each species not only attract conspecifics but also aid individuals in avoiding interspecific mating and competition for food and spatial resources within the bark phloem layer.
    Chemoecology 12/2013; 23(4). DOI:10.1007/s00049-013-0139-9 · 1.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many pollinators specialize on a few plants as food sources and rely on flower scents to recognize their hosts. However, the specific compounds mediating this recognition are mostly unknown. We investigated the chemical basis of host location/recognition in the Campanula-specialist bee Chelostoma rapunculi using chemical, electrophysiological, and behavioral approaches. Our findings show that Ca. trachelium flowers emit a weak scent consisting of both widespread and rare (i.e., spiroacetals) volatiles. In electroantennographic analyses, the antennae of bees responded to aliphatics, terpenes, aromatics, and spiroacetals; however, the bioassays revealed a more complex response picture. Spiroacetals attracted host-naive bees, whereas spiroacetals together with aliphatics and terpenes were used for host finding by host-experienced bees. On the intrafloral level, different flower parts of Ca. trachelium showed differences in the absolute and relative amounts of scent, including spiroacetals. Scent from pollen-presenting flower parts elicited more feeding responses in host-naive bees as compared to a scentless control, whereas host-experienced bees responded more to the nectar-presenting parts. Our study demonstrates the occurrence of learning (i.e., change in the bee's innate chemical search-image) after bees gain foraging experience on host flowers. We conclude that highly specific floral volatiles play a key role in host-flower recognition by this pollen-specialist bee, and discuss our findings into the broader context of host-recognition in oligolectic bees.
    Journal of Chemical Ecology 11/2013; 39(11-12). DOI:10.1007/s10886-013-0363-3 · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    Acta Zoologica Bulgarica 10/2013; 65(2013):391-396. · 0.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Unanswered key questions in bark beetle-plant interactions concern host finding in species attacking angiosperms in tropical zones and whether management strategies based on chemical signaling used for their conifer-attacking temperate relatives may also be applied in the tropics. We hypothesized that there should be a common link in chemical signaling mediating host location by these Scolytids. Using laboratory behavioral assays and chemical analysis we demonstrate that the yellow-orange exocarp stage of coffee berries, which attracts the coffee berry borer, releases relatively high amounts of volatiles including conophthorin, chalcogran, frontalin and sulcatone that are typically associated with Scolytinae chemical ecology. The green stage of the berry produces a much less complex bouquet containing small amounts of conophthorin but no other compounds known as bark beetle semiochemicals. In behavioral assays, the coffee berry borer was attracted to the spiroacetals conophthorin and chalcogran, but avoided the monoterpenes verbenone and α-pinene, demonstrating that, as in their conifer-attacking relatives in temperate zones, the use of host and non-host volatiles is also critical in host finding by tropical species. We speculate that microorganisms formed a common basis for the establishment of crucial chemical signals comprising inter- and intraspecific communication systems in both temperate- and tropical-occurring bark beetles attacking gymnosperms and angiosperms.
    PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e74277. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0074277 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is unresolved as to whether fungi that share a common skin habitat might in principal interact. In in vitro screening tests with Candida albicans, Trichophytum rubrum and other common dermatophytes, we found C. albicans releases volatile compounds that inhibit growth of the dermatophytes. By applying (enantioselective) gas chromatography combined with mass spectrometry we identified 8 compounds among which stereochemically pure (3R,6E)-2,3-dihydrofarnesol (R-DHF) and (2E,6E)-farnesol (F-ol) were the main components. Synthetic R-DHF and its enantiomer, (3S,6E)-2,3-dihydrofarnesol (S-DHF), as well as F-ol were tested for their capacity to inhibit growth of dermatophytes in microtiter-plate assays over 62 h. All three compounds showed significant and concentration-dependent, to a certain extent even species-specific, inhibitory effects on T. rubrum, T. mentagrophytes, Microsporum canis and Epidermophyton floccosum. In general, S-DHF and F-ol had a pronounced effect on the dermatophytes, similar to or even stronger than that of fluconazole. E. floccosum was completely suppressed by 12.5 μg/ml dihydrofarnesol, as was the inhibition caused by 50 μg/ml fluconazole. Similarly, S-DHF- was more active against T. rubrum than fluconazole. To the best of our knowledge, 2,3-dihydrofarnesol has not yet been described as a volatile generated by microorganisms, and its inhibitory effect on dermatophytes is new to science. However, the relevance of this compound in interfungal interference in situ is unknown. In contrast, farnesol is a well-known semiochemical of C. albicans with intraspecific effects and a clear impact on other microorganisms. Mutual intermicrobial communication based on fungal volatiles therefore appears to be an exciting field for future investigations.
    Medical mycology: official publication of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology 08/2013; DOI:10.3109/13693786.2013.814174 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Specificity in biological signalling systems is often important to keep information private. Foragers of several species of stingless bees deposit chemical marking signals to guide nestmates to food sources. The markings show species-and colony-specific compositions and primarily attract a bee's nestmates. An interesting question is whether the bees innately recognize specific trail markings or learn their particular composition from nestmates. To investigate this question, we tested whether Scaptotrigona pectoralis and Scaptotrigona subobscuripennis workers taken from their mother colonies and workers that emerged from combs transferred to foster colonies of the congeneric species are attracted to the marking compounds of workers from their natal colony or from the foster colony. A significant majority of workers were attracted to extracts prepared from foragers of the nest they inhabited, regardless of whether this was the original mother or the congeneric foster colony. Thus, the preference of stingless bee workers for specific food-marking scent mixtures is not innate, but is influenced by the odour they experience within their colony. Despite marked differences in the chemical composition of the scent marks in labial gland secretions of the two investigated species they also shared some main components. We hypothesize that recruitment trail information in stingless bees is composed of one or a few key pheromone compounds acting in conjunction with an additional signature mixture that is species and colony specific and must be learnt by recruited workers.
    Animal Behaviour 01/2013; 85(1):225–232. DOI:10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.10.029 · 3.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The native leafmining moth Tischeria ekebladella (Lepidoptera: Tischeriidae) feeds on oaks and recently has become a pest of silviculture and urban green areas in central Europe. The behavioral responses of male moths to hexane extracts of whole bodies of calling females or males were tested under laboratory conditions. Only extracts of females elicited responses from males. Analysis of extracts by coupled gas chromatography/electroantennographic detection revealed the presence of two electroantennogram-active peaks. Structure elucidation of these compounds, by gas-chromatography/mass spectrometry and independent synthesis revealed them to be (3Z,6Z,9Z)-tricosa-3,6,9-triene and (3Z,6Z,9Z,19Z)-tricosa-3,6,9,19-tetraene. While the triene was present in both sexes, the tetraene was female-specific. The latter is a new structure for a pheromone component of Lepidoptera and a novel natural product. Field trapping tests, carried out in a mixed oak forest near Budapest (Hungary), using synthetic compounds applied to rubber dispensers, showed that the tetraene per se elicited catches of males in large numbers. When the triene was added to the tetraene in a ratio of 1:1, there was no increase in trap catch; the triene alone did not elicit catches of males. For monitoring this insect, the tetraene, applied to rubber dispensers at a dose of 300 μg, is a potent sex attractant.
    Journal of Chemical Ecology 09/2012; 38(10). DOI:10.1007/s10886-012-0184-9 · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The family of cecidomyiid midges (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) exhibits diversified patterns of life history, behavior, host range, population dynamics and other ecological traits. Those that feed on plants include many important agricultural pests; most cultivated plants are attacked by at least one midge species. Several features of the reproductive biology of cecidomyiid midges point to an important role for chemical communication, with this topic last reviewed comprehensively 12 years ago. Here, we review progress on identification of sex pheromones, chemicals involved in location of host plants, the neurophysiology of reception of volatile chemicals, and application of semiochemicals to management of pest species of cecidomyiid midges that has occurred during the last decade. We hope this review will stimulate and sustain further research in these fields.
    Journal of Chemical Ecology 01/2012; 38(1):2-22. DOI:10.1007/s10886-011-0053-y · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Social parasitism is widespread in many groups of social living hymenopteran species and has also evolved in the genus Bombus. Cuckoo bumblebees (subgenus Psithyrus) are obligate brood parasites in nests of other bumblebee species. After nest usurpation and the killing of the host queen, the parasite female has to control worker reproduction in order to accomplish and maintain reproductive dominance and to ensure her reproductive success. The aim of our study was to examine whether the generalist parasitic bumblebee Bombus bohemicus monopolizes and prevents worker reproduction by physical or chemical means and to identify possible odor compounds involved therein. We performed bioassays with callow workers of the host Bombus terrestris and have shown that B. bohemicus females are able to suppress host worker ovarian development, when these host workers are under the direct influence of the parasite female. Furthermore, by chemical analyses, we have demonstrated that the parasite females adjust to the odor profiles of their host queens in order to maintain the level of fertility signaling inside the host colony although the host queen is absent. We also found that host workers change their odor profile after nest usurpation by the parasite female and consequently, we suggest that the host and parasite are caught up in a chemical arms race.
    Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 01/2012; 66(3). DOI:10.1007/s00265-011-1294-z · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Starting from the enantiomers of limonene, all eight stereoisomers of trans-fused dihydronepetalactones were synthesized. Key compounds were pure stereoisomers of 1-acetoxymethyl-2-methyl-5-(2-hydroxy-1-methylethyl)-1-cyclopentene. The stereogenic center of limonene was retained at position 4a of the target compounds and used to stereoselectively control the introduction of the other chiral centers during the synthesis. Basically, this approach could also be used for the synthesis of enantiomerically pure trans-fused iridomyrmecins. Using synthetic reference samples, the combination of enantioselective gas chromatography and mass spectrometry revealed that volatiles released by the endohyperparasitoid wasp Alloxysta victrix contain the enantiomerically pure trans-fused (4R,4aR,7R,7aS)-dihydronepetalactone as a minor component, showing an unusual (R)-configured stereogenic center at position 7.
    Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry 01/2012; 8:1246-55. DOI:10.3762/bjoc.8.140 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Xanthomonas campestris is a phytopathogenic bacterium and causes many diseases of agricultural relevance. Volatiles were shown to be important in inter- and intraorganismic attraction and defense reactions. Recently it became apparent that also bacteria emit a plethora of volatiles, which influence other organisms such as invertebrates, plants and fungi. As a first step to study volatile-based bacterial-plant interactions, the emission profile of Xanthomonas c. pv. vesicatoria 85-10 was determined by using GC/MS and PTR-MS techniques. More than 50 compounds were emitted by this species, the majority comprising ketones and methylketones. The structure of the dominant compound, 10-methylundecan-2-one, was assigned on the basis of its analytical data, obtained by GC/MS and verified by comparison of these data with those of a synthetic reference sample. Application of commercially available decan-2-one, undecan-2-one, dodecan-2-one, and the newly synthesized 10-methylundecan-2-one in bi-partite Petri dish bioassays revealed growth promotions in low quantities (0.01 to 10 μmol), whereas decan-2-one at 100 μmol caused growth inhibitions of the fungus Rhizoctonia solani. Volatile emission profiles of the bacteria were different for growth on media (nutrient broth) with or without glucose.
    Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry 01/2012; 8:579-96. DOI:10.3762/bjoc.8.65 · 2.80 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

7k Citations
949.83 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1974–2015
    • University of Hamburg
      • Institute of Organic Chemistry
      Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • 2013
    • University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein
      Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
  • 2002–2012
    • Hungarian Academy of Sciences
      • Plant Protection Institute
      Budapest, Budapest fovaros, Hungary
    • Lund University
      Lund, Skåne, Sweden
  • 1991–2010
    • Cornell University
      Ithaca, New York, United States
    • Tulane University
      New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
  • 1987–2009
    • University of Freiburg
      • Institute of Forest Zoology
      Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
    • Research Institute for Animal Breeding and Nutrition, Hungary
      Budapeŝto, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2001
    • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Department of Plant Protection Biology
      Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 2000
    • Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg
      Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • 1998–2000
    • University of Greifswald
      • Institute for Microbiology
      Greifswald, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
  • 1995
    • Uppsala University
      Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 1992
    • Université Libre de Bruxelles
      Bruxelles, Brussels Capital Region, Belgium
    • University of Bayreuth
      • Chair of Organic Chemistry I
      Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany
    • University of Tuebingen
      Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany