Austria is a landlocked country offering very limited options to study marine natural products. However, cooperation with the Thai Prince of Songkla University in Hat Yai enables to investigate structures and properties of pharmaceutically interesting compounds from marine organisms.
Marine life forms are in an environment that offers entirely different conditions compared to those of terrestrial species. All body functions of marine species are thus adapted to the high density of surrounding water. Also defense and attack strategies are based on mechanisms optimized for these environmental conditions. In particular, organisms that cannot move themselves, such as sponges and tunicates, require highly specialized chemical defense mechanisms against predators. Chemical structures of the used natural products have been optimized during evolution resulting in compounds which show a high repellent activity even when highly diluted in the surrounding water. Thus, these compounds are potential lead structures for pharmaceutical applications.
Cooperation between Austria and Thailand
In particular, coastal waters in tropical climates provide a large biodiversit