The Center of Natural Substances’ Study (CESN in french) is a platform of the CNRS associate laboratory 5557-Microbial ecology based in the University Claude Bernard Lyon1.

For a long time, secondary metabolites have been considered as potential sources of new bioactive molecules or phenotypic elements, as a complement to genotypic datas in taxonomia. The evolution of analytical technics permitted to open new exploration’s ways of biodiversity at a molecular scale. These skills, used for the investigation of molecules implicated in biotic interactions, permit to define in a precise way the chemical outlines of those interactions, opening then a new domain : chemical ecology.

The chemical ecology is though the study of the role of chemical compounds in the mediation of biotic interactions. The interactions between organisms, at intra- and interspecific levels, take place in a world where organic molecules dominate as signals and defences. The chemical ecology lies at the heart of the fundamental questions in evolutionary biology and functional ecology of ecosystem functioning and on the origin and maintenance of biodiversity.

In this context, the use of phytochemical analytical tools and biomathematics allowed us not only to improve knowledge on chimiobiodiversity of endemic plant species, but also highlight the involvement of secondary metabolites in biotic interactions.

This new angle of view of biodiversity, complementary of transcriptomics or genomics tools, is a future asset that should enable us to do, successfully, important advances in understanding the complexity and originality of ecosystems and can more easily identify potential applications in the context of sustainable development.

The activities of the CESN are focused on thematics concerning :

  • The chemical ecology applied to plant-microbe interactions
  • Chemical and biological characterization of natural substances
  • Metabolomics and metabolic profiling of plant extracts and bacterial
  • The bio-guided fractionation of natural molecules

Research personnel associated with the CESN are involved in the various teams of the Unit and work mainly on:

  • The study of metabolites implicated in biotic or abiotic interactions (ecology, environment, health…) like actinorhizal, associative symbioses,…
  • Characterization of the influence of biotic environment on the expression of metabolic a partner in a defined ecosystem.
  • The chemical biodiversity and its potential applications.

Moreover, the CESN has established partnerships either at academic or industrial, and offers a range of services and expertise around natural substances.