Authors: Lur Epelde, Maddalen Mendizabal, Laura Gutiérrez, Ainara Artetxe, Carlos Garbisu, Efrén Feliu
Journal: Urban Forestry & Urban GreeningRead More
The Mediterranean economy is highly dependent on agriculture.
However, agricultural sustainability and productivity in this region are under serious threat due to climate change and depletion of water resources. This is worsened by poor management practices, such as the overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, overgrazing, and monoculture farming. ReCROP aims to redesign Mediterranean agrosystems with improved resilience capacity and higher productivity, focusing on the development of sustainable agricultural production systems through the combined use of biotechnological tools and environmentally friendly agronomic practices. This will allow farming systems to face climate change trough the improvement of below and aboveground biodiversity, fertility, and water conservation. RECROP uses the novel approach of plant-microorganism management that relies on the increase of soils functions and health by using bioinocula, amendments, cropping systems, and climate-ready crops, to increase crop yields while providing ecological services, e.g., increasing carbon sequestration, organic matter, nutrient cycling and water conservation.
Agriculture is currently confronting an increasing human population and limitations of soil use due to, among other reasons, pollution levels above food safety threshold values. Some agricultural practices increase the heavy metal content (HM) of agricultural soil, representing an important threat for the European agricultural development. The use of microorganisms as plant growth promoters has been increasingly studied for a number of years, but it has only recently been proposed to improve plant metal tolerance. Regrettably, plant-microorganism-pollutant interactions are still poorly understood and the molecular underlying mechanisms are mostly unknown. The abovementioned challenges for agricultural production require the study of these mechanisms to better promote a more efficient and sustainable agriculture. This project will venture into new unchartered territory by focusing on the molecular interactions between a probiotic actinobacterium (Micromonospora cremea) and its host, Pisum sativum (garden pea), in the presence of HMs. We will evaluate the capacity of M. cremea CR30 to improve plant tolerance to HM polluted soils, in addition to unraveling the molecular dialogue during the first and late steps of their interaction. Early step interactions are crucial in plant promotion and protection against external stresses, like pollution by HM. Here, we propose the use of new -omic technologies to study these molecular interactions between plants and microorganisms under metal stress, providing a new pathway for an improved soil management. This project addresses a crucial objective in food security, the development of sustainable agricultural practices to control potentially adverse HM effects on plant health.
Authors: Mikel Anza, Oihane Salazar, Lur Epelde, José María Becerril, Itziar Alkorta and Carlos Garbisu
Journal: Applied Sciences
Vol: 9, 4757; doi:10.3390/app9224757
Here, we aimed to bioremediate organically contaminated soil with Brassica napus and a bacterial consortium. The bioaugmentation consortium consisted of four endophyte strains that showed plant growth-promoting traits (three Pseudomonas and one Microbacterium) plus three strains with the capacity to degrade organic compounds (Burkholderia xenovorans LB400, Paenibacillus sp. and Lysinibacillus sp.). The organically contaminated soil was supplemented with rhamnolipid biosurfactant and sodium dodecyl benzenesulfonate to increase the degradability of the sorbed contaminants. Soils were treated with organic amendments (composted horse manure vs. dried cow slurry) to promote plant growth and stimulate soil microbial activity. Apart from quantification of the expected decrease in contaminant concentrations (total petroleum hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), the eectiveness of our approach was assessed in terms of the recovery of soil health, as reflected by the values of dierent microbial indicators of soil health. Although the
applied treatments did not achieve a significant decrease in contaminant concentrations, a significant improvement of soil health was observed in our amended soils (especially in soils amended with dried cow slurry), pointing out a not-so-uncommon situation in which remediation eorts fail from the point of view of the reduction in contaminant concentrations while succeeding to recover soil health.
La fitogestión es una fitotecnología, surgida a partir de la fitorremediación, basada en el uso de plantas (árboles, arbustos, herbáceas) para controlar el riesgo asociado a la presencia de contaminantes en emplazamientos degradados, a la vez que: (i) se generan productos (e.g., madera, resina, aceites esenciales, bioenergía, ecocatalizadores) a partir de la biomasa cosechada; y (ii) se potencia el suministro de servicios ecosistémicos (e.g., secuestro de C, control de erosión, creación de hábitats).
Phy2SUDOE pretende valorizar emplazamientos contaminados con metales-metaloides y/o compuestos orgánicos en la región SUDOE mediante el empleo de estrategias de fitogestión encaminadas a la generación de productos y servicios ecosistémicos en dichos emplazamientos, a la vez que se minimiza el impacto ambiental que los contaminantes pudieran
ocasionar. Asimismo, este proyecto aspira a implantar estrategias de conservación de la biodiversidad endémica propia de algunos emplazamientos contaminados (e.g., flora metalícola, bacterias promotoras del crecimiento vegetal, etc.) por su valor intrínseco y utilitario (e.g., aplicaciones biotecnológicas).
Authors: Álvarez-Rodríguez I, Arana L, Ugarte-Uribe B, Gómez-Rubio E, Martín-Santamaría S, Garbisu C, Alkorta I
Title: Type IV coupling proteins as potential targets to control the dissemination of antibiotic resistance
Journal: Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences
Vol: 7, 201 Date: 2020
The increase of infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria, together with the loss of effectiveness of currently available antibiotics, represents one of the most serious threats to public health worldwide. The loss of human lives and the economic costs associated to the problem of the dissemination of antibiotic resistance require immediate action. Bacteria, known by their great genetic plasticity, are capable not only of mutating their genes to adapt to disturbances and environmental changes but also of acquiring new genes that allow them to survive in hostile environments, such as in the presence of antibiotics. One of the major mechanisms responsible for the horizontal acquisition of new genes (e.g., antibiotic resistance genes) is bacterial conjugation, a process mediated by mobile genetic elements such as conjugative plasmids and integrative conjugative elements. Conjugative plasmids harboring antibiotic resistance genes can be transferred from a donor to a recipient bacterium in a process that requires physical contact. After conjugation, the recipient bacterium not only harbors the antibiotic resistance genes but it can also transfer the acquired plasmid to other bacteria, thus contributing to the spread of antibiotic resistance. Conjugative plasmids have genes that encode all the proteins necessary for the conjugation to take place, such as the type IV coupling proteins (T4CPs) present in all conjugative plasmids. Type VI coupling proteins constitute a heterogeneous family of hexameric ATPases that use energy from the ATP hydrolysis for plasmid transfer. Taking into account their essential role in bacterial conjugation, T4CPs are attractive targets for the inhibition of bacterial conjugation and, concomitantly, the limitation of antibiotic resistance dissemination. This review aims to compile present knowledge on T4CPs as a starting point for delving into their molecular structure and functioning in future studies. Likewise, the scientific literature on bacterial conjugation inhibitors has been reviewed here, in an attempt to elucidate the possibility of designing T4CP-inhibitors as a potential solution to the dissemination of multidrug-resistant bacteria.