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Chemical prospection and metabolomics studies in the microbiological diversity in caves

Grant number: 22/05378-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2022
Effective date (End): July 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Organic Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Norberto Peporine Lopes
Grantee:Natália Naomi Kato
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto (FCFRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:20/02207-5 - Inventorying secondary metabolism applying metabolomic strategies: contribution to the Brazilian biodiversity valuation, AP.BTA.TEM


Caves are natural heritage sites and an ecosystem capable of hosting rich biodiversity, including the microbiota. Abiotic and biotic factors modulate the ecological balance and ensure the uniqueness of each ecosystem. Genome sequencing and metagenomics advancements reveal an undeniable microbiological diversity of cave-dwelling organisms. The microbiota of caves is characterized by surviving and developing in zones of low nutrient availability and absence of light and is responsible for several ecological functions. Another critical role of microorganisms - especially bacteria - is a natural source for obtaining bioactive metabolites with pharmacological potential. In order to explore the biological and chemical diversity of cave microbiota, the bacterial strain collected from the aphotic zone of the ferruginous cave will be correlated through the genomic data, chemical profile, and in vitro assays. The 16S rRNA genome sequencing will provide the taxonomic classification of the isolated bacteria. For characterization of the chemical profile, they will be submitted to analysis by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS). The extracts will be tested for in vitro cytotoxicity against tumor cell lines. Based on the chemical profile and cytotoxic activity, statistical tests will be performed, using metabolomics as a tool, which will enable the prediction of active compounds and the listing of the bacteria that produce these metabolites. The results obtained to promote the metabolomic analyses as a strategy to search for active compounds with pharmacological potential in cave microbiota.

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