O Instituto de Investigação e Tecnologia da Agronomia e Meio Ambiente (IITAA) desenvolve trabalho de investigação com o objetivo de perseguir estudos em diversas áreas, como a caracterização / previsão do clima insular e os efeitos das mudanças globais em comunidades do oceano para os to... Ler mais »


Biotechnological Potential of Microbial Isolates from Azorean Lava Tubes

Tecnologias Alimentares e Saúde



Louvado, António; Varela, Ana Rita; Coelho, Márcia; Riquelme, Cristina; Dapkevicius, Maria de Lurdes Enes; Dapkevicius, Airidas (2011) Biotechnological Potential of Microbial Isolates from Azorean Lava Tubes. II Encontro Ibérico de Biologia Subterrânea


Microbial communities from extreme environments, such as cave environments, are of great biotechnological interest because of their unique adaptations that frequently are associated to production of secondary metabolites useful to humankind. Isolation and conservation of microbial isolates from these environments in seedbanks has economic value and can serve as an alternative funding to tourism to support conservation strategies, namely through bioprospection deals. However, data on the biotechnological potential of such environments is needed to address various focus groups of their value. In this work we attempt to valorize Azorean lava tubes by revealing the biotechnological potential of the culturable fraction of their microbial mats, focusing particularly on bioactive metabolites.

The acquired resistance of pathogens to commonly used antibiotics dictates the seek for novel antibiotics. Survey of common terrestrial niches for novel antibiotic producing strains is nearly exhausted. On the contrary, extreme environments, because they are a source of novel microorganisms, are considered a promising target for survey of bioactive compounds. Lava tubes found in Azores are environments of extreme geochemical conditions, namely due to the scarceness of organic nutrients, high humidity and low temperatures. In order to survive these extreme conditions, organisms develop unique adaptations, leading to the biosynthesis of novel molecules.

We screened three lava tube complexes from the Terceira Island in the Azorean archipelago for cultivable bacteria isolates. Biofilm samples were collected from a diversity of microbial mats found on the walls of caves. Pure isolates were initially tested on solid medium for antimicrobial activity against a set of eight pathogenic strains through the cross-streak method. A total of 310 bacteria isolates were obtained from the three cave systems, 52 (16.8%) revealed an antimicrobial activity to a least three of the eight pathogens. Confirmation and optimization of antibiosis production in liquid medium cultures in ongoing. Future work will focus on extracting and purifying antimicrobial compounds by bioautography.

Preliminary results indicate that lava tubes at Terceira Island harbor antimicrobial producing strains that need to be further studied to uncover their full biotechnological potential.


Sexta, 02 Setembro, 2011


Maria de Lurdes Nunes Enes Dapkevicius
Membro Integrado com contrato
Márcia Catarina Mendes Coelho
Aluno de Doutoramento
Cristina Riquelme Gabriel
Investigador Colaborador (Outros)
Airidas Dapkevicius
Antigo membro
Ana Rita Boura Varela
Antigo membro

    Ver todas as publicações

Web Development: Via Oceânica, 2009