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

16th national competition for scientific and technical research

Climate change

Senior Researcher : María C. Romero Puertas

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


The 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.

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