Bio.Res.Nova is a project financed by the Pisa Foundation under the ‘research’ call for proposals, coordinated by the Biology Department of the University of Pisa.
Intended as a specialised soil and soil quality restoration project, the project studies processes to restore the quality of soils and sediments, whether contaminated or degraded, or depleted in organic matter, by means of innovative biotechnologies supported by chemical-physical processes.
Soil is a non-renewable resource that, mainly due to human activities and climate change, undergoes a series of degradation processes, such as erosion, decline in organic matter, local or diffuse contamination, compaction, decline in biodiversity, salinization, floods and landslides.
As a result of the research activities performed, significant results have been achieved on the biodegradation of the main classes of organic contaminants, namely heavy hydrocarbons (TPH), polycyclic aromatics (PAH) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB).
The results obtained concern not only the acceleration of degradation kinetics but also the activation of the synthesis processes of humic substances (humic and fulvic acids).
In the case of contaminated soils, the objective of these processes is the transformation of organic contaminants into non-toxic molecular structures.
In the case of deprived soils of low quality in agronomic terms, the objective is the transformation of organic matter that may have been amended.
In a previously contaminated soil matrix, where humic substances are substantially absent, the activation of their production contributes to the restoration of the minimum conditions to restore fertility of the matrix.
Thus, restoring the ability to support the growth of plant essences thanks to a humic substance content comparable to that of productive agricultural soils.
The study of the microbial ecology of the processes designed made use of the most modern molecular biology techniques dedicated, in detail, to the sequencing of the metagenome (Next Generation Sequencing) of environmental matrices and the study of the reference microbiota.
These analyses were carried out both through metabarcoding and in silico reconstruction of metabolic pathways that characterize biodegradation protocols.
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