Insect Alkaloids

Anabasine, anabaseine and bipyridyl have been found in the venom of several species of Aphaenogaster and Messor (seed-gathering ants) but we do not know anything about their biosynthesis there. In Aphaenogaster rudis anabasine, anabaseine and bipyridyl are all part of the trail pheromone. Alone, each compound shows no activity, but with N-iso-pentyl-2-phenylethylamine (Figure 9.4) they form the active pheromone. The anabasine in some Messor ants was shown to have the same 2/-(5) configuration as it has in plants, but in some Aphaenogaster it is of mixed enantiomers. Cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine, is produced by the American and German cockroaches (Periplanata americana and Blatta germanica) and the housefly Musca domestica.

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