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Zinc complexes: synthesis, characterization and effect on zooxanthellae and coral digestive enzymes

Grant number: 21/07153-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2021
Effective date (End): August 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Inorganic Chemistry
Principal researcher:Breno Pannia Esposito
Grantee:Lúcio Lourenço de Freitas Neto
Home Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Corals are invertebrates that live in symbiosis with microalgae of the Symbiodiniaceae family, called zooxanthellae, which provide the animals with photosynthetic products in exchange for protection and constant exposure to the sun. However, this symbiosis is sensitive to environmental impact, having recently resulted in blanching episodes (expulsion of microalgae by coral), with negative consequences for coastal biodiversity and economic activities that depend on healthy coral reefs (eg, fishing and tourism). Zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles present in sun protection cosmetics are among a diversity of substances that can induce this dysregulation in symbiosis. Aiming to expand the understanding of the bioinorganic aspect of coral-zooxanthella symbiosis, this work intends to study the influence that ZnO and other zinc species in solution have on known species of zooxanthella, and the effect of metal on enzymatic activity of digestive enzymes of corals. For this, the zinc complexes will be initially synthesized and characterized: zinc citrate (Zn[Cit]2); zinc edetate (Zn[EDTA]); zinc glycinate (Zn[Gly]2), zinc histidinate (Zn[His]2), and complexes between Zn and standard humic substances (Zn[SH]). Subsequently, the action of Zn species on the growth of six Symbiodiniaceae clades will be studied at the Aidar & Kutner Microorganisms Bank - BMAK of the Oceanographic Institute of USP. Finally, the objective is to test the effects of Zn species on the enzymatic activity of the coral extract of the Millepora alcicornis species in collaboration with researchers from the Enzymology Laboratory and the NGO Biofábrica de Corais at UFPE. (AU)

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