Chemistry in the Amazon: Tropical birds, Amazonian tribespeople derive medicinal benefits from insects, plants

March 25, 2001

Eloy Rodriguez, professor of environmental studies at Cornell University, will speak at the 221st national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, on natural organic chemicals found in the Amazon. The meeting will be held April 1-5 in San Diego, Calif.

Rodriguez' remarks, part of the ACS eminent scientist lecture series, will highlight the interconnection between the conservation of biodiversity and the preservation of human and animal health.

Rodriguez will discuss the evolution of natural organic chemicals from Amazonian plants to caterpillars, ants and other insects, and ultimately to tropical birds. He will explain how the preen glands of birds produce chemicals, which originate in tropical plants, to inhibit fungi and bacteria and repel biting and stinging insects, the worst enemy of sleeping birds. Butterflies and moth caterpillars are known to sequester their defense from toxic plants; Rodriguez' research shows that vertebrates, including birds and poisonous frogs, also acquire their defense through their diet.

Rodriguez will also discuss the chemistry of a wide range of medicinal plants used by Amazonian tribespeople, including findings that some tropical plants may fight breast cancer cells. He will also highlight the chemistry of a mixture of ants, termites and chili peppers that tribespeople use as a "spicy Viagra."

WHO: Eloy Rodriguez, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

WHAT:Eminent Scientist Lecture
Organic Chemical Cascades: How Amazon Birds Get Their Medicines From Giant Ants

WHEN:Monday, April 2, 4:30 p.m.

WHERE:Hyatt Regency Hotel, Manchester A-B
-end-


American Chemical Society

Related Ants Articles from Brightsurf:

Ants swallow their own acid to protect themselves from germs
Ants use their own acid to disinfect themselves and their stomachs.

Ants adapt tool use to avoid drowning
Researchers have observed black imported fire ants using sand to draw liquid food out of containers, when faced with the risk of drowning.

Bees? Please. These plants are putting ants to work
This is the first plant species in the world found to have adapted traits that enables a mutually beneficial relationship with ants.

Ants use collective 'brainpower' to navigate obstacles
Ants use their numbers to overcome navigational challenges that are too large and disorienting to be tackled by any single individual, reports a new study in the open-access journal eLife.

Ants restore Mediterranean dry grasslands
A team of ecologists and agronomists led by Thierry Dutoit, a CNRS researcher, studied the impact of the Messor barbarus harvester ant on Mediterranean dry grasslands.

Risk aversion as a survival strategy in ants
Ants are excellent navigators and always find their way back to the nest.

Epigenetic switch found that turns warrior ants into forager ants
In 2016, researchers observed that they could reprogram the behavior of the Florida carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus.

Larger than life: Augmented ants
The first app of its kind allows users to interact with biodiversity research through augmented reality.

Ants: Jam-free traffic champions
Whether they occur on holiday routes or the daily commute, traffic jams affect cars as well as pedestrians.

Ants fight plant diseases
New research from Aarhus University shows that ants inhibit at least 14 different plant diseases.

Read More: Ants News and Ants Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.