René Benndorf

René Benndorf

Phone: +49 3641 532-1567 Email:

Investigation of secondary metabolites from insect-associated microbes and their contribution to insect homeostasis and defense

The major goal of my PhD project is to isolate, characterize and understand the role of natural products produced by microorganisms living in close association or even symbiotic relationship with insects, in particular fungus-growing termites. It is often believed that bacterially produced small molecules contribute to the host’s fitness and development by acting as biological information carrier to maintain and modulate the multilateral interaction network. But fully characterized examples are still rare, and the mode-of-actions of those molecules are often not well understood. Studying the microbiome of social insects will help identifying both new aspects of small-molecule mediated inter-kingdom communication and symbiotic relationships, as well as new antibacterial and antifungal agents. Results obtained will benefit both academic research as well as industrial pharmaceutical research.


Guo H, Schwitalla JW, Benndorf R, Baunach M, Steinbeck C, Görls H, de Beer ZW, Regestein L, Beemelmanns C (2020) Gene Cluster Activation in a Bacterial Symbiont Leads to Halogenated Angucyclic Maduralactomycins and Spirocyclic Actinospirols. Org Lett 22(7), 2634-2638. Details PubMed

Benndorf R, Guo H, Sommerwerk E, Weigel C, Garcia-Altares M, Martin K, Hu H, Küfner M, de Beer ZW, Poulsen M, Beemelmanns C (2018) Natural Products from Actinobacteria Associated with Fungus-Growing Termites. Antibiotics (Basel) 7(3), Details PubMed

Guo H, Benndorf R, König S, Leichnitz D, Weigel C, Peschel G, Berthel P, Kaiser M, Steinbeck C, Werz O, Poulsen M, Beemelmanns C (2018) Expanding the Rubterolone Family - Intrinsic Reactivity and Directed Diversification of PKS-derived Pyrans. Chemistry 24, 11319-11324. Details PubMed

Lee SR, Lee D, Yu JS, Benndorf R, Lee S, Lee DS, Huh J, de Beer ZW, Kim YH, Beemelmanns C, Kang KS, Kim KH (2018) Natalenamides A⁻C, Cyclic Tripeptides from the Termite-Associated Actinomadura sp. RB99. Molecules 23(11), Details PubMed

Guo H, Benndorf R, Leichnitz D, Klassen JL, Vollmers J, Görls H, Steinacker M, Weigel C, Dahse HM, Kaster AK, de Beer ZW, Poulsen M, Beemelmanns C (2017) Isolation, Biosynthesis and Chemical Modifications of Rubterolones A-F: Rare Tropolone Alkaloids from Actinomadura sp. 5-2. Chemistry , Details PubMed


Christine Beemelmanns


Dirk Hoffmeister

Start of PhD

April 1, 2014

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