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Projects. Life and Matter Sciences

Molecular strategies for the biorepair of mining soils and the maintenance of the balance of atmospheric CO2

Lead Researcher:
María del Carmen Romero Puertas

Research Centre:
Estación Experimental del Zaidín. CSIC. Granada.


María del Carmen Romero PuertasThe objective of this project is to identify the genes involved in the response to heavy metals, using polluted soils from the areas of Riotinto and Alquife as models, by means of scrutinising a collection of mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana. Additionally, these mutants will be characterised and the possible role of vegetable hormones as well as the signalling molecules in the regulation of the plant's response to heavy metals present in these soils will be studied. This will make it possible to establish biotechnological strategies for the purposes of phytoremediation to recover and conserve mining soils with a high concentration of metals.

During the first months of the project the selection media were prepared, considering three initial mixtures, each of which contains 3 metals, based on the pH conditions and the metals present in the soils of Riotinto and Alquife. The selection of the medium was based on fundamental characteristics: 1) the plants must adapt well to the medium, i.e. they must be able to germinate and grow, and 2) the concentration of metals be as similar as possible to that in the original soil. This selection, which has already begun, is being undertaken in a medium that contains the metals Cd, Cu and Cr, in concentrations that correspond to 100, 50 and 66%, respectively, of the metals present in the original soil. Additionally, the growth time for selection was set at 7 days, in vertically-arranged dishes. On the other hand, the role of the H2O2 signalling molecule, dependent on the NADPH oxidase C in the plant's response to arsenic, was analysed.

Scientific production
1 article published in Journals

María del Carmen Romero Puertas

Tenured Scientist of the Superior Science Research Council (CSIC).

Previous professional scientific activities:

  • Postdoctoral grant (Marie Curie EIF) John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK. November, 2005, to July, 2007.
  • Postdoctoral contract (Andalusian Regional Government), University of Verona. May, 2004, to April, 2005.
  • Postdoctoral grant (MECD) University of Verona. November, 2003 to April, 2004.
  • Postdoctoral contract (University of Verona) October, 2002, to September, 2003.
  • Predoctoral grant (Andalusian Regional Government) Zaidín Experimental Station (CSIC) 1999-2002.

Lines of research

  • Oxygen free radical metabolism, antioxidant systems, and oxidative stress in plants. Plant peroxisomes: cellular and molecular functions.
  • Metal toxicity: signalling and cellular response.
  • Nitric oxide (NO) regulation mechanisms, oxygen reactive species (ORS) and cellular signalling during plant-pathogen interaction.


  • Degree in Physics, University of Granada. 1993
  • Degree in Biology, University of Granada. 1997
  • Doctorate in Biology with special prize, University of Granada. July, 2002

Other distinctions

  • Evaluation of papers for many journals.
  • Member of the Spanish Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Society.
  • Member of the Spanish Plant Physiology Society.

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