Orsolya Borsai, Mohamad Al Hassan, Monica Boscaiu, Radu E. Sestras and Oscar Vicente
Drought and soil salinity are at present the major factors responsible for the global reduction of crop yields, and the problem will become more severe in the coming decades because of climate change effects. The most promising strategy to achieve the increased agricultural production that will be required to meet food demands worldwide will be based on the enhancement of crop stress tolerance, by both, traditional breeding and genetic engineering. This, in turn, requires a deep understanding of the mechanisms of tolerance which, although based on a conserved set of basic responses, vary widely among plant species. Therefore, the use of different plant models to investigate these mechanisms appears to be a sensible approach. The genus Portulaca could be a suitable model to carry out these studies, as some of its taxa have been described as tolerant to drought and/or salinity. Information on relevant mechanisms of tolerance to salt and water stress can be obtained by correlating the activation of specific defence pathways with the relative stress resistance of the investigated species. Also, species of the genus could be economically attractive as ‘new’ crops for ‘saline’ and ‘arid’, sustainable agriculture, as medicinal plants, highly nutritious vegetable crops and ornamentals.
Loretta Mancinelli, Francesco Ragonese, Samuela Cataldi, Maria Rachele Ceccarini, Rossana G. Iannitti, Cataldo Arcuri and Bernard Fioretti
Agmatine has been functionally characterized as an important hormone and co-neurotransmitter in mammals. Given its ability in binding Imidazoline sites, a regolatory site of monoaminoxydase, it has been suggested to be involved in many neurological aspects. However, its inhibitory effect on this enzyme still remains an unanswered question. This present study is aimed to asses whether different experimental conditions could affect the agmatine action on monoaminoxydase activity. We demonstrate that the monoaminoxydase inhibition by agmatine is obtained under alkaline conditions and a long time of incubation. No inhibitiory action was found for shorter times of reaction at elevated pH, or at neutral condition and long time of incubation. No inhibition was also detected by substituting the monoamineoxydase substrate tyramine with kynuramine, however, while in these conditions a remarkable inhibition was shown by two aminoxydase inhibitors tranylcypromine and idazoxan. Herein, we discuss a mechanism model and the functional consequences of agmatine action on monoaminoxydase.
Laura Paneghetti, Andrea Gallotta, Chiara Parrozzani and Giorgio Fassina
The ageing process in the European society will become one of the key driving forces of change over the next decades. The specific demands of older generations constitute a key market of the future, and the pressure to improve and expand health services increases, especially as far as chronic diseases, such as cancer. Availability of cost effective cancer early detection protocols, based on predictive biomarkers, will improve patients management reducing consequently the high costs associated to treating patients when the disease is at an advanced stage.
Biotechnology, including genetic modifications, can play a vital role in helping to meet future food and environmental security needs for our growing population. The nature and use of biotechnology crops are described and related to aspects of food security. Biotechnological applications for food and animal feed are described, together with trends on global adoption of these crops. The benefits of biotechnology crops through increased yield, reduced pesticide use and decreased environmental damage are discussed. Examples of biotechnology crops which do not involve genetic modification are also described. Applications of biotechnology to drought and salt tolerance, and biofortification in which micronutrient content is enhanced are discussed. Emergent technologies such as RNA spraying technology, use of genome editing in agriculture and future targets for improved food and environmental security are considered.
The analysis of microscopic fungi collection created at theDurmishidze Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology revealed 107 strains assimilating 2,4,6-TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene) belonging to the different fungal genera. The strains have been isolated from the polluted areas adjacent to the military grounds and industrial waste waters. It has been shown TNT is degraded most actively by strains belonging to the following genera: Trichoderma, Aspergillus, Mucor and Trichoderma. Optimal cultivation conditions for highly active strains -the destructors of TNT have been revealed. It has been established that the carbon skeleton of TNT being utilized by the mentioned strains undergoes biotransformation. The existence of radioactive intermediates of biotransformation, organic acids (70-90%) and amino acids (10-30%) have been detected in liquid culture. Radioactive label of 1-14C-TNT is mostly found in fumaric acid, which is known as one of the main products of benzene biotransformation and further conversion into succinic acid. Remediation level of TNT-contaminated red and black soils treated by the most active strains Aspergillus nigerN2-2 and Mucor sp. T1-1 have been studied under laboratory and field conditions. Cultivation of the above mentioned strains under laboratory conditions in sterile, black and red soils for 30 days at 30°C allowed decreasing the content of TNT in black soil to the residual, and in red soil - to 15%; cultivation of Aspergillus niger N2-2 decreased the amount of TNT in black soil to 11 and in red soil - to 21%. Under field conditions, TNT degradation level in contaminated soils by naturally existing micro flora during 100 days was equal to 40-50%, and in the case of additional introduction of both fungal strains, TNT-destructors reached 80%.
Erel Lior, Tim Axelrod, Evgeni Eltzov, Ariel Kushmaro and Robert S. Marks
The Lachish River has suffered from recurring pollution incidents for the past decade. On October 11th, 2017, another contamination in the river was sighted, as thousands of dead fish were found floating. Samples from the river were retrieved and tested through a whole cell bioluminescent bacterial bioreporter system as well as conventional analytical methods, and the results from both methods were analyzed and compared, even though initially these two collecting events were not coordinated. The information acquired from the whole cell reporter was consistent with that obtained from conventional methods. Both approaches indicated a large concentration of microorganisms as deduced from K802NR E. coli strain reaction and coliforms count. The high water conductivity measured in collected samples were closer downstream, and attributed to the diffusion of salts from the Mediterranean Sea which affected bacterial viability as seen from the decreased reaction of E. coli strains TV1061 and DPD2794. In addition, the bacterial indicators’ kinetic patterns have shown indication for the presence of a genotoxic substance from only one of the collection sites, which was tested positive for the herbicide Metazachlor, itself known to have genotoxic effects. The correlation between both approaches, along with the biosensor’s ability to assess biological influences, suggests that the whole cell bioluminescent bacterial bioreporter bioassay as an easy, simple and efficient approach for water toxicity monitoring.
Fabrizio Bruschi, Barbara Castagna, Francesca Mori-Ubaldini, Barbara Pinto, Francesco Costa and Ferruccio Bonino
The aims of this case-control study were to determine the prevalence of Anisakis-specific IgE in patients reporting chronic or acute gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and to investigate the correlation with raw fish ingestion habits.
A group of patients undergoing gastric endoscopy and a control group of healty subjects answered a self-administered questionnaire on their food habits, presence of symptoms (both allergic and not allergic), and general life style. The presence of anti-Anisakis IgE has been evaluated using a serum immunoCAP assay.
Our data show a low prevalence of IgE directed against Anisakis allergens in Italy in dyspeptic patients, despite the high consumption of poorly cooked fish. These findings does not correlate with the results of studies from other Mediterranean countries, such as Spain, for example.
The general prevalence of Anisakis allergens sensitization in Italy could be further investigated through screenings in the allergic population, especially on those patients who claim to have developed a fish allergy and with history of raw fish consumption. Moreover, the attention should be moved on recent allergic reactions associated with fishing ingestion. This could in fact indicate a recent encounter with the parasite. Finally, we must underline that the evaluation of Anisakis-specific IgG would have probably shown a difference in terms of exposure between the two groups; thus, it might be useful to detect also this antibody class in future population-based studies.
Balázs József Nagy, Magdolna Makó, István Erdélyi, Andrea Ramirez, Jonathan Moncada, Iris Vural Gursel, Ana Ruiz-Martínez, Aurora Seco, José Ferrer, Fabian Abiusi, Hans Reith, Lambertus A.M. van den Broek, Jordan Seira, Diana Garcia-Bernet, Jean-Philippe Steyer and Miklós Gyalai-Korpos
Different species of microalgae are highly efficient in removing nutrients from wastewater streams and are able to grow using flue gas as a CO2 source. These features indicate that application of microalgae has a promising outlook in wastewater treatment. However, practical aspects and process of integration of algae cultivation into an existing wastewater treatment line have not been investigated. The Climate-KIC co-funded Microalgae Biorefinery 2.0 project developed and demonstrated this integration process through a case study. The purpose of this paper is to introduce this process by phases and protocols, as well as report on the challenges and bottlenecks identified in the case study. These standardized technical protocols detailed in the paper help to assess different aspects of integration including biological aspects such as strain selection, as well as economic and environmental impacts. This process is necessary to guide wastewater treatment plants through the integration of algae cultivation, as unfavourable parameters of the different wastewater related feedstock streams need specific attention and management. In order to obtain compelling designs, more emphasis needs to be put on the engineering aspects of integration. Well-designed integration can lead to operational cost saving and proper feedstock treatment enabling algae growth.
Antonio Malvasi, Andrea Tinelli, Domenico Baldini, Rossana G. Iannitti and Bernard Fioretti
It has been known that inositols function as insulin second messengers and mediate different insulin-dependent processes and are a valid natural, non-pharmaceutical alternative to contrast insulin-resistance as well as associated metabolic syndrome in women with Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOS). Several studies also have shown positive effects of resveratrol in reducing glucose and lipid concentrations in patients. Recently, clinical evidence has proven that an D-chiro-inositol/resveratrol combination has a potential role to play in maintaining metabolic and endocrine health, however no large clinical trials have demonstrated the medical effectiveness of the combination, and the combined mode of action remains poorly discussed. Herein, we address the hypothesis of a synergistic mechanism adopted by D-chiro-inositol and resveratrol in reducing insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia and thus showing a greater therapeutic potential compared to treatment with inositol’s alone.