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On the book ‘Introduction to Biochemical Ecology’.

Keywords: biochemical ecology, introduction, book, anniversary, S.A.Ostroumov,
new concepts, ecological, chemomediators, chemoregulators, ecological role,
secondary metabolites, chemical communication,

The international poster session ‘Ecosystems, Organisms, Innovations-14’ is
dedicated to anniversaries of two books, one of them is ‘Introduction to Biochemical

The book ‘Introduction to Biochemical Ecology’ by Dr. S.A. Ostroumov was
published in 1986. Now, in 2011, the 25th anniversary of publishing this book is

About the book 'Introduction to Biochemical Ecology' see:;;

Reviews and evaluations of this and other books by the same author:

Further development of the ideas of the book see at:;

Since the book was published, 25 years have passed during which a further
development of both ecology and biochemistry took place. On the basis of recent
developments in science it is possible to say that the main new conceptualization
made in the book was timely, relevant, and profound.

The book ‘Introduction to Biochemical Ecology’ was the first book in international
science, the title of which contained the phrase ‘biochemical ecology’.

The book in a multi-faceted way provided an insightful analysis of existing facts at
the frontier between ecology and biochemistry. Actually not only those two
disciplines were involved. The author also covered many facts in the area of
chemistry of natural products, environmental sciences, geosciences, and
Ecotoxicology (in other words, Environmental toxicology and chemistry).

In the book, for the first time consistent fundamental concepts were developed of
the ecological role of plethora of natural chemical substances that do not belong to
those major classes of biomolecules that are under study in traditional biochemistry
(those major classes are proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids). The
major part of the other natural chemicals that do not belong to those 4 major
groups are called secondary metabolites.Their name is legion: among them, we see
such broad classes of natural products as alkaloids, flavanoids, glycosides, steroids,
and many others.

On the basis of an analysis of that huge diversity of chemical compounds, the
author of the book developed some unifying concepts that discovered the
fundamental ecological role of those chemicals. This role is of dual nature: (1)
mediation in interactions between organisms involved, and (2) regulation of the
functioning and development of organisms. In connection with those aspects of the
role, new concepts and terms were introduced in the book: ecological
chemomediators and ecological chemoregulators (see also:

Additional comment on the book:

Biochemical Ecology.

Many natural products were described, especially secondary metabolites, that have biological effects on a broad range of organisms. Some of them have
a commercial importance as crop protection agents [1], and as pharmaceuticals.

These was a publications which contributed to the principles and basic concepts of biochemical ecology were formulated and analyzed [2]. The book
analyzed, inter alia, the ecological roles of natural and man-made chemicals. Inter alia, some problems of chemical communication and regulation in
natural populations and ecosystems, environmental toxicology and chemistry. Ecological functions of secondary metabolites of bacteria, fungi, algae,
plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. The book got a positive evaluation in several published reviews [3] . The book contributed to the conceptual
framework and theoretical basis for advances in the areas with the key words, inter alia: pest management, new pesticides, including herbicides;
allelopathy in terrestrial and aquatic environments; sustainable agriculture and forestry; biocontrol agents; phytochemicals, bioactive agents; natural
pesticides; biopesticides; biologically active; terpenoids; biocidal; pyrethroids; insecticidal; antifungal; herbicidal; agents; algicidal; isoprenoids; alkaloid;
toxicants; toxic; phytotoxins, pharmaceutical; allelopathic potential; bioassay; blue-green, green, alga; algae; cyanobacteria, pathogenic; agrochemical;
biocide; mutagenicity; phytotoxic; ichthyotoxic, phytoplankton; secondary; metabolism; metabolite; integrated, weed, management, biological, testing,
glycosides, growth inhibition, inhibitory, feeding, phenolic, chemical defense, antimicrobial, pathogen; infochemicals; chemical communication;

This book was translated into Polish [4] and Bulgarian [5] languages.

A relevant recent paper was published [6]. It covers the trends in research that include studies of the role of chemical substances in interorganismal
interactions, in communication and regulation of supraorganismal systems. Another part of biochemical ecology is the studies of the fate and
transformation of external chemical substances when they interact with the organisms. Both natural and man-made compounds are interesting for
biochemical ecology. The basic concepts of biochemical ecology include the new concepts and terms, ecological chemomediators and ecological
chemoregulators, that have already been included in the body of modern conceptions and are used in modern ecological literature. Application of
biochemical ecology to aquatic ecosystems creates the basis for development of biochemical hydrobiology.

Also, some relevant materials for university education were published [7-9].

Many new natural chemicals were discovered after those publications. Some novel bioactive natural products were found by many authors. A series of
relevant publications was published, e.g., by Stephen Duke (USDA-ARS, U.S.A.).


1. L. Copping, S.O. Duke. Natural products that have been used commercially as crop protection agents. - Pest Management Science. 63: 524-554 (2007).
Also, see other publications by S.O.Duke and co-authors.

2. S.A.Ostroumov. Introduction to Biochemical Ecology. 1986. Moscow. Moscow University Press. 176 p. Figures, tables. Bibliogr.: pp. 168-174.

3. Published reviews of the book 'Introduction to Biochemical Ecology': Priroda (Nature). 1987. No. 1. p.125. Professor Telitchenko M.M. Review of the book
'Introduction to Biochemical Ecology'. – Bulletin of Moscow University. Ser. 16. Biology. 1986. No. 4. P. 58. Prof. Stavskaya S.S. // Physiology and
biochemistry of cultivated plants. 1988. v. 20, No. 1. p. 99 - 100; Prof. Pokarzhevsky А.D., Semenova N.L. // Ecology. 1988, No. 2, p. 89 - 90. - Review; Prof.
Sokolov М.S. // Аgrochemistry. 1987, No. 7, p. 135-136; Prof. Gusev М.V. (Dean, School of Biology, Moscow Univ) // Plant Physiology. V. 35. No. 2, p.412 -
413; Prof. Dubinin N.P. (Full Member, Acad.Sci.) // Izvestia Acad. Sci. Ser. Biol. (Bulletin of Acad. Sci. Biological series). 1988, No. 1. p. 799 - 800; Prof. B.
Stugren. Introduction to Biochemical Ecology by S.A. Ostroumov (a review) // Studia Univ. Babes-Bolyai. Biologia. 1987. N 2. P. 96 – 97 (in English). Dr. E.
Symonides // Wiadomosci Ecologiczne, V. 33. No. 2. P. 199-201; Review // J. General Biology. 1989. V. 50. No. 3, p. 429.

4. Ostroumow S. A. Wprowadzenie do ekologii biochemicznej. [=Introduction to Biochemical Ecology] Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN [= PWN
Press], 1992. 205 pages [translated from Russian by J. Kurylowicz = tł. z jęz. ros. Jerzy Kuryłowicz] ISBN-13: 9788301104542. ISBN-10: 8301104546. [in
Polish language; the book is recommended and used at several Polish universities, including: The Technical University of Lodz (Politechnika Łódzka); The
Jan Kochanowski University of Humanities and Sciences in Kielce; University of Wrocław; University in Bialymstok (Uniwersytet w Bialymstoku); University
in Opole (Wydział Przyrodniczo – Techniczny Uniwersytetu Opolskiego); Akademia im. Jana Długosza, Instytut Chemii i Ochrony Środowiska, Częstochowa;
Uniwersytet Kardynala Stefana Wyszynskiego, Warsaw; and other universities].

5. Ostroumov, Sergei. Uvod v Biokhimichnata Ekologia (=Introduction to Biochemical Ecology). Nauka i Izkusstvo (Science and Art) Press. Sofia. 1990. 155
p., fig., tab. Bibliogr.: pp.146-152 (in Bulgarian).

6. Ostroumov S.A. On the concepts of biochemical ecology and hydrobiology: Ecological chemomediators. - Contemporary Problems of Ecology, 2008,
Volume 1 (2), p. 238-244 [publisher MAIK Nauka/Interperiodica, distributed by Springer Science+Business Media LLC. ISSN 1995-4255 (Print) 1995-4263
(Online)] DOI 10.1134/S1995425508020100; ;;

This paper was translated into English from the paper:
On concepts of biochemical ecology and hydrobiology: ecological chemomediators. - Siberian Ecological Journal (Sibirsky Ekologichesky Zhurnal). 2006. -
13, No.1. - P. 73-82. Bibliogr. 32 refs. [ = Siberian Journal of Ecology = Sibirskiy ekologicheskiy zhurnal; ISSN 0869-8619;

7. The program of the lecture course. Introduction to Biochemical Ecology // Ecological Studies, Hazards, Solutions, 2001. 5: 122-124. Bibliogr. 11 refs. The
program of the lecture course. Ecology of Water Self-Purification // Ecological Studies, Hazards, Solutions, 2001. 5: 124-125. Bibliogr. 13 refs.;

8. Syllabus of a new lecture course 'Introduction to biochemical ecology' // Syllabuses of lecture courses (Programmi spetzkursov). Moscow: Moscow State
University. 2002. P.123-125 [the new innovative course developed];

9. Ecology and Hydrobiology. Curricula of Lecture Courses. Moscow. MAX Press. 2005. VI + 36 p. The collection of curricula of several lecture courses
including: (1) Ecology; (2) Mechanisms of Interorganismal Interactions in Ecosystems; (3) General Biochemical Ecology; (4) Introduction to Biochemical
Ecology of Drinking Water and Human Nutrition; Of interest to professors and students in various fields of ecology, life science, environmental science,
limnology, medicine, sciences on the biosphere, protection, and sustainable use of biological, aquatic biological and water resources. (Diploma of the
Academy of Aquatic Sciences, awarded in 2006).


Elements of CV of the author of the book are at the site:;

Some of the other publications by the same author are at the sites:

On the most recent book by Dr. S. A. Ostroumov:

Some examples of citations of the publications authored by Dr. S. Ostroumov: