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Stenusine, an antimicrobial agent in the rove beetle genus Stenus (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae)

Lusebrink, Inka, Dettner, Konrad and Seifert, Karlheinz (2008) Stenusine, an antimicrobial agent in the rove beetle genus Stenus (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae) The Science of Nature, 95, (8), pp. 751-755. (doi:10.1007/s00114-008-0374-z). (PMID:18392795).

Record type: Article


Stenusine is well known as the alkaloid, discharged by the rove beetle, genus Stenus Latreille (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae). The Stenus beetles employ the alkaloid as an escape mechanism when on water surfaces. In the case of danger, they lower their abdomen and emit stenusine from their pygidial glands. Stenusine shows a low surface tension and therefore a high spreading pressure; these properties propel the beetle quickly over the water. Many Steninae do not live in habitats with open waters, but in detritus, leaf litter, mosses, etc. This raises the possibility that stenusine might also have another function, e.g., as antibiotic or fungicide. Stenus beetles show an intense grooming behaviour. With gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses we could prove that they cover themselves with their secretion. To tests its antimicrobial properties we conducted agar diffusion tests with stenusine and norstenusine, another substance that is abundant in most Stenus species. Both compounds have an antimicrobial effect on entomopathogenic bacteria and fungi. Stenusine not only allows for an extraordinary method of locomotion on water surfaces, it also protects the Steninae from being infested with microorganisms.

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Published date: August 2008
Keywords: stenus, stenusine and norstenusine, antibiotic and fungicidal
Organisations: Environmental


Local EPrints ID: 343575
ISSN: 0028-1042
PURE UUID: 5e41a97b-b1ff-47aa-9da1-34fd16b3ea5a

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Date deposited: 08 Oct 2012 15:08
Last modified: 13 Oct 2017 16:31

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Author: Inka Lusebrink
Author: Konrad Dettner
Author: Karlheinz Seifert

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