Organizations & People
Report from IUPAC-Sponsored
3-8 November 2001 in Antalya, Turkey
> Back to Calendar
by Torbjörn Norin
Biodiversity is an important international topic and the biological
implications of biodiversity have been extensively discussed from
both scientific and political points of view. However, biodiversity
ultimately rests on chemodiversity and, consequently, studies in
the field of natural products chemistry offer a deeper understanding
of the chemistry of life processes and of complex biological and
ecological interactions in Nature. Biomolecular aspects of biodiversity
have therefore become an important topic. The scientific challenges
and opportunities in the field as well as the possibilities for
sustainable utilization of our rich natural resources are enormous.
However, they need dedicated attention in order not to threaten
future development and welfare.
A few years ago IUPACs Division of Organic and Biomolecular
Chemistry initiated activities in the field of biodiversity. The
past president of the Division, Professor Upendra Pandit, took the
lead. A series of successful conferences was initiated: the first
in Thailand and the second in Brazil. The 3rd IUPAC International
Conference on Biodiversity (ICOB-3) was held 3-8 November 2001
in Antalya, Turkey, which was appropriate as it is a country that
abounds in biodiversity. Furthermore, Turkeys rich history
and diversified cultural heritage provided an extra dimension to
the atmosphere of the conference.
The period of the meeting followed, unfortunately, hard on the
heels of the tragic events of September 11 in the United States.
This presented the organizers with special problems in view of the
cancellation of attendance by a number of participants, including
several speakers. In some cases the participants could not receive
permission to travel from their home countries. However, despite
these adverse circumstances, the chairperson of the conference,
Professor Bilge Sener of Gazi University, Ankara, through her enormous
effort and constructive inventiveness, managed to organize a highly
successful scientific event.
The conference listed about 196 participants from 40 countries.
The program consisted of five days of exciting interdisciplinary
science. Biomolecular aspects of biodiversity and innovative utilization
of natural resources were discussed from very diverse points of
viewranging from their botanical, zoological, taxonomic, and
genomic expressions to their biomolecular, structural, mechanistic,
and functional aspects.
There were 11 plenary lectures that covered a range of subjects,
including the following:
Professor William S. Bowers (USA) provided us
with exciting information about chemical communication in the
insect world and on insect/plant interactions.
Professor Magid Abou-Gharbia (USA) presented some
successful discoveries of new drugs based on natural products.
Professor S. Qasim Mehdi (Pakistan) gave an account
of a current study of the human genome diversity. He presented
population studies of protein polymorphism and human leucocyte
antigens supported by mitochondrial DNA, autosomal microsatellite
diversity, and single nucleotide polymorphism.
Professor K. Hüsnü Can Baser (Turkey)
described the fascinating chemodiversity of herbs and other plants
producing essential oils, some of which are of commercial significance.
Professor Neriman Özhatay (Turkey) presented
an interesting lecture on the diversity of bulbous monocots, with
special reference to the chromosome numbers.
Professor Brian J. Huntley (South Africa) highlighted
botanical aspects of biodiversity, preservation, and sustainable
use of natural resources with focus on the flora of South Africa.
Dr. Jag Mohan Khanna (India) presented a critical
review with pros and cons on the development of new
drugs derived from natural products.
Professor Atta-ur-Rahman, despite duties as the
Minister of Science and Technology in Pakistan, was able to attend
the conference and deliver a lecture on his successful research
in natural product chemistry with the aim to develop new drugs
and other useful chemicals.
Professor Ya-Ping Zhang (China) provided information
about the importance of genetic variation for the survival and
conservation of species.
Dr. Priscila de Almeida Leone (Australia) presented
a brilliant overview of recent work carried out at AstraZeneca
R&D Griffith University, Brisbane, on Australian plants and
Professor Günay Sariyar (Turkey) presented
the final lecture on infraspecific variation of alkaloid content
in Papaver species and its chemotaxonomic implications.
In addition to these plenary lectures, there were 30 session lectures
and two poster sessions. The almost 60 posters were on display during
the whole conference. This arrangement provided excellent opportunities
for informal contacts, especially with the young Turkish scientists.
One session was devoted to a panel discussion on the means for international
cooperation on molecular diversity. A draft report from the IUPAC
project on Molecular Basis of Biodiversity; Conservation and Sustained
Innovative Utilisation was also discussed (see
The social arrangements included a beautiful and memorable ballet
performance at the opening ceremony, a lavish get-together mixer,
and a relaxed, joyful, and excellent banquet dinner. A conference
tour to the old Roman city of Demre was also part of the program.
We thank Professor Bilge Sener for providing us with this opportunity
to discuss exciting results and the significant progress in the
emerging field of molecular biodiversity.
We now look forward to the 4th conference in this series, which
will be combined with the 24th IUPAC Symposium on the Chemistry
of Natural Products in New Delhi, India 2004.
Torbjörn Norin is past president of the
Division of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. He is a professor
at the Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm, Sweden.
Page last modified 28 August 2002.
Copyright ©2002 International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.
Questions or comments about IUPAC, please contact, the Secretariat.
Questions regarding the website, please contact Web