Secretariat Großhansdorf

Irene Joraszik

Sieker Landstraße 2
22927 Großhansdorf
Phone: +49 4102 696 0
Fax: +49 4102 696 200

Location manager Waldsieversdorf

  • Volker Schneck

Secretariat Waldsieversdorf

Stefanie Mordau

Eberswalder Chaussee 3a
15377 Waldsieversdorf
Phone: +49 33433 157 0
Fax: +49 33433 157 199

Methylsalicylate in Birch



Methylsalicylate in Birch

Methylsalicylate is in particular present in various birch species. However, nowadays it is produced synthetically.

Background and Objective

The anti-infection substance methyl salicylate (MeSA) is used in many medicinal products such as ointments for external use in muscle and joint pain as well as rheumatic complaints. Although methyl salicylate is naturally present in various birch species, it is now mainly produced synthetically. The use of the natural product is made more difficult by the fact that data on the MeSA content in the respective species are almost non-existent in the literature or hitherto no selection of birch trees rich in methyl salicylate has taken place. The aim of the project is to investigate the variations in methylsalicylate levels in different birch species, to determine the relationships between them, and to develop screening methods which enable rapid selection of birch trees with high productivity of biologically active ingredients. The innovative and interdisciplinary project thus promotes the ecologically sensible use of natural resources.


In the project, the variations of the methyl salicylate content between different birch species are investigated but also within the species as a function of the stage of development, the plant tissue (bark, leaves) and the season. Furthermore, molecular markers will be developed to unravel species affinity and hybridization status. In addition, genes involved in the biosynthesis of methyl salicylate in methyl salicylate-producing birch trees will be identified via a candidate gene approach.

External partner (Dr. Christian R. Moschner, Institute of Agricultural Engineering, University of Kiel)
Webpage of cooperation partner University of Kiel

Kiran Singewar (


Involved Thünen-Partners

Involved external Thünen-Partners


6.2017 - 3.2021

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: ongoing

Publikationen zum Projekt

hits: 5

  1. Singewar K, Moschner CR, Hartung E, Fladung M (2021) Genome-wide bioinformatics analysis revealed putative substrate specificities of SABATH and MES family members in silver birch (Betula pendula). Silvae Genetica 70(1):57-74, DOI:10.2478/sg-2021-0005
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 5337 kb
  2. Singewar K, Fladung M, Robischon M (2021) Methyl salicylate as a signaling compound that contributes to forest ecosystem stability. Trees 35:1755-1769, DOI:10.1007/s00468-021-02191-y
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 1329 kb
  3. Kersten B, Singewar K, Fladung M (2021) Transcriptome analysis of North American sweet birch (B. lenta L.) revealed a higher expression of genes involved in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites than European silver birch (B. pendula ROTH), Accession No. PRJNA756395 [Datenpublikation] [online]. 12 SRA Experiments, 12 BioSamples, 119 Gb. NCBI National Center for Biotechnology Information, zu finden in <> [zitiert am 23.09.2021]
  4. Singewar K, Kersten B, Moschner CR, Hartung E, Fladung M (2021) Transcriptome analysis of North American sweet birch (Betula lenta) revealed a higher expression of genes involved in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites than European silver birch (B. pendula). J Plant Res 134(6):1253-1264, DOI:10.1007/s10265-021-01343-y
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 3288 kb
  5. Singewar K, Moschner CR, Hartung E, Fladung M (2020) Species determination and phylogenetic relationships of the genus Betula inferred from multiple chloroplast and nuclear regions reveal the high methyl salicylate-producing ability of the ancestor. Trees 34:1131-1146, DOI:10.1007/s00468-020-01984-x
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 1769 kb