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Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences
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May 6, 10:43 AM
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iBB researcher interviewed by Radio TSF on the impact of climate change on coral reefs

Coral reefs support more than 25% of all marine species and provide invaluable goods and services annually to hundreds of millions of people, including sustenance through food and commercial fishing, tourism, and protection against coastal storms. Nevertheless, coral reef ecosystems are facing significant global stress due to climate change.

In light of the current fourth global mass bleaching event, Tina Keller-Costa, researcher at iBB, was invited by Radio TSF to explain the phenomenon and problems of coral bleaching, the threats for corals in Portugal, and ongoing research actions aimed at preserving and restoring coral reefs.

iBB's insight:

Listen to the interview or read about it here.

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January 17, 4:37 AM
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Natural product biosynthetic potential reflects macroevolutionary diversification in Flavobacteria

Natural product biosynthetic potential reflects macroevolutionary diversification in Flavobacteria | iBB | Scoop.it

A new article, published in mSystems, delved into the secondary metabolite biosynthesis potential of Flavobacteriaceae to find highly intertwined phylogenetic-secondary metabolism relationships within this family. The authors examined 2,680 genomes to suggest that the carbohydrate, peptide, and secondary metabolism triad synergistically shaped the evolution of this keystone and widely distributed bacterial taxon. These features likely underpin the broad host range and opportunistic-to-pathogenic behaviour encompassed by species in this family. This study breaks new ground for future research on select Flavobacteriaceae spp. as reservoirs of novel drug leads. Particularly, it highlights a versatile secondary metabolism among species belonging to the genera Aquimarina and Kordia, which should be explored in future natural product research endeavours. The study was first-authored by former iBB/DBE PhD student Sandra Silva and coordinated by professor Rodrigo Costa, counting on expert contributions from iBB/DBE scientist Tina Keller-Costa, and Ulisses Nunes da Rocha and Masun Homsi from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany.

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October 17, 2023 4:29 AM
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AnimalAssociatedMetagenomeDB – new database unveils biases towards livestock and developed countries

AnimalAssociatedMetagenomeDB – new database unveils biases towards livestock and developed countries | iBB | Scoop.it

A new database for non-human, animal-associated metagenomic data, the AnimalAssociatedMetagenomeDB, reveals a strong sampling bias towards livestock (cattle, pigs, poultry) and animals used in medical research as well as developed countries and temperate regions. Wildlife-associated microbial metagenomes, especially from polar and tropical regions and the Global South, particularly African countries, are largely underrepresented. This study can guide researchers in host species selection in novel animal-associated metagenome research, especially in biodiversity and conservation studies. The database can also guide scientists in future meta-analyses and testing of new hypotheses, for example, on host-specificity, strain heterogeneity, or biogeography of animal-associated microbiomes, leveraging existing data. The study was led by Ulisses Nunes da Rocha and his team from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, and counted on specialist guidance in animal taxonomy and metadata curation from iBB/DBE researcher Tina Keller-Costa. The user-friendly web app is a valuable resource for non-bioinformaticians to find publicly available animal-associated metagenome samples with curated metadata.

iBB's insight:

Weblink to Database/Web App: https://webapp.ufz.de/aamdb/

Weblink to Article: https://animalmicrobiome.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42523-023-00267-3

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September 9, 2023 5:51 AM
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Life on our planet depends on microorganisms

Life on our planet depends on microorganisms | iBB | Scoop.it

As part of the celebrations of the International Microorganism Day (September 17th), the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon (ACL) and its Institute of Higher Studies, in collaboration with the Portuguese Society of Microbiology (SPM), organize, on the 18th September, Monday, an afternoon to promote Microbiology. The session includes talks by Isabel Sá-Correia who will moderate the colloquium, and Tinar Keller-Costa, both from DBE and iBB.

 

In the midst of the climate crisis, the colloquium's theme is: LIFE ON OUR PLANET DEPENDS ON MICROORGANISMS. The session is open and will take place, in a hybrid format, in the ACL session room, as well as on the Zoom platform. The session will take place in Portuguese, with the exception of the last talk which will be in English: SAVE THE MICROBES TO SAVE THE PLANET to be presented by the President of the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS), it is a call to action to promote the development of sustainable solutions to control infectious agents, preserve global microbial diversity and healthy life on our planet.

iBB's insight:

Read more here.

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July 11, 2023 10:17 AM
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Perspective with iBB researchers selected among top-articles addressing Sustainable Development Goals

Perspective with iBB researchers selected among top-articles addressing Sustainable Development Goals | iBB | Scoop.it

The perspective article entitled "Harnessing the microbiome to prevent biodiversity loss", an international collaboration uniting renowned scientists active in the fields of symbiosis and microbial ecology and evolution, was included in a collection of articles from nature’s portfolio that address challenges for achieving United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The perspective, led by Raquel Peixoto at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), counted on expert contributions by Rodrigo Costa and Tina Keller-Costa on microbiome manipulation strategies in aquaculture and coral reef ecosystems. The initiative was launched by a round table headed by the Beneficial Microorganisms for Marine Organisms (BMMO) network during the 15th Symposium on Bacterial Genetics and Ecology (BAGECO15, Lisbon 2019) chaired by Rodrigo Costa.

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July 11, 2023 4:33 AM
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Sandra Silva Defended PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences

Sandra Silva Defended PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences | iBB | Scoop.it

Sandra Silva defended her PhD thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences at Instituto Superior Técnico, receiving the highest mentioning “Distinction and Honour”.  Her thesis entitled “Secondary metabolite biosynthesis by Aquimarina species: emerging properties and bioactivities from the rare marine biosphere” was developed under the supervision of Rodrigo Costa and Tina Keller-Costa from iBB and DBE. During the past four years, Sandra combined genomics, experimental microbiology, metabolomics, and analytical chemistry to explore marine host-associated bacteria as a source of novel natural products with antimicrobial activities.

 

iBB's insight:

Congratulations, Sandra!!!

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May 9, 2023 6:28 AM
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Blue Bioeconomy Pact – New research project at iBB and IST

Blue Bioeconomy Pact – New research project at iBB and IST | iBB | Scoop.it

The Blue Bioeconomy Pact led by Inovamar is one of the mobilizing agendas for corporate innovation recently funded by the European Union NextGenerationEU through the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR). It consists of a consortium of 83 national entities including 53 companies of all dimensions, from large multinational corporations to small-medium enterprises and start-ups, and 30 R&D institutions. The project aims to develop the sustainable use of marine resources, creating 52 new products, processes and services across multiple sectors such as aquaculture, fisheries, food and feed, textiles, biomaterials and human health. The consortium will invest a total amount of 133 M€, of which 94 M€ are financed by the Recovery and Resilience Plan.

Instituto Superior Técnico is involved in four of the nine PBA work packages with 1.5 M€ of funding: WP1 – “Biomaterials”, WP4 – “Food”, WP5 – “Algae”, and WP9 – “The Portuguese Blue Biobank”. The project at IST is coordinated by Prof Rodrigo Costa from iBB and DBE and counts on expert contributions by Dr Teresa Cesário from iBB (WP1), Dr Tina Keller-Costa and Prof Isabel Sá-Correia from iBB (WP5 and WP9) and Prof Ana Clara Marques from CERENA and DEQ (WP4).

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January 12, 2023 9:15 AM
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Marine Sponge and Coral-Associated Bacteria Show Versatile Secondary Metabolite Biosynthesis Potential and Inhibit Human Pathogens

Marine Sponge and Coral-Associated Bacteria Show Versatile Secondary Metabolite Biosynthesis Potential and Inhibit Human Pathogens | iBB | Scoop.it

Marine microbiomes are prolific sources of bioactive compounds of pharmaceutical value. A new study, published in Marine Drugs, inspected two culture collections comprising 919 host-associated marine bacteria belonging to 55 genera and several unclassified lineages. The study identified numerous isolates with a potentially rich secondary metabolism and inhibitory activities towards human-pathogenic bacteria and fungi. These culture collections, available at iBB-IST and Aveiro University, are a valuable resource of understudied marine bacteria that hold promise for a future, sustainable production of novel drug leads. The work was developed within the SymbioReactor project (DGPM | Fundo Azul program), first-authored by MSc João Almeida and coordinated by Dr Tina Keller-Costa and Prof Rodrigo Costa. The study also involved PhD student Matilde Marques, Dr Dalila Mil-Homens, Prof Miguel Teixeira and Prof Arsénio Fialho from iBB as well collaborators from Aveiro University and Biocant.

iBB's insight:

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September 26, 2022 6:21 PM
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Metagenomics resolved genomics sheds light on the function of octocoral symbionts

Metagenomics resolved genomics sheds light on the function of octocoral symbionts | iBB | Scoop.it

To shed light on the metabolic capacities of the bacterial symbionts of octocorals (Octocoallia, Cnidaria), iBB researchers examined 66 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) from the microbial metagenomes of octocorals and seawater. The work recovered MAGs from dominant, so-far unculturable Endozoicomonadaceae and other symbionts, and identified a thus far unanticipated, global role for Endozoicomonadaceae symbionts of corals in the processing of chitin, the most abundant natural polysaccharide in the ocean. Other symbionts had genes for the assimilation of chitin oligosaccharides and for chitin deacetylation, suggesting possibilities for substrate cross-feeding and a role for the coral microbiome in overall chitin turnover. The study also observed sharp differences in secondary metabolite production potential between symbiotic lineages, and suggested that niche partitioning, metabolic specialization, and adaptation to low oxygen conditions among prokaryotic symbionts likely contribute to the plasticity and adaptability of the octocoral holobiont in changing marine environments. The article, published in the journal Microbiome, was led by iBB researchers Tina Keller-Costa and Rodrigo Costa and counted on contributions of EPFL MSc student Lydia Kozma, iBB PhD student Sandra Silva and collaborators from UALG-CCMAR, UFZ Leipzig and DOE JGI.

iBB's insight:

Check video byte here:

https://youtu.be/iQrVdXdYTTY

 

Check article here: https://microbiomejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40168-022-01343-7

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July 11, 2022 4:45 AM
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Matilde Marques and Tina Keller-Costa Present at the 15th International Coral Reef Symposium

Matilde Marques and Tina Keller-Costa Present at the 15th International Coral Reef Symposium | iBB | Scoop.it

Dr Tina Keller-Costa, BSRG-iBB researcher, and Matilde Marques, MIT Portugal PhD student in Biotechnology and Biosciences, attended the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS), held from 03 to 08 July 2022 in Bremen, Germany. Tina gave a talk on her latest metagenomics studies on the octocoral microbiome while Matilde presented a poster on viruses and bacteriophage communities of octocorals and seawater. The event was hosted by the University of Bremen and counted with 1050 in-person and over 270 virtual participants. To enable a science-to-policy dialogue the symposium also welcomed leading German and international politicians, as well Prince Albert II of Monaco and H.H. Princess Mashael Saud AlShalan from Saudi Arabia, who advocated for ocean conservation and sustainability. It was the first time in its 50-years history that ICRS was brought to Europe and the first carbon neutral ICRS.

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June 29, 2022 6:24 AM
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Antimicrobial Activities and Metabolomes of Aquimarina from the Rare Marine Biosphere

Antimicrobial Activities and Metabolomes of Aquimarina from the Rare Marine Biosphere | iBB | Scoop.it

The marine bacterial genus Aquimarina is a promising source of novel natural products. A new study published in Marine Drugs demonstrated widespread ability of Aquimarina species to inhibit growth of human-pathogenic microbes such as Candida glabrata and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, as well as Vibrio and other marine bacteria relevant to aquaculture. Metabolomics and genomics analyses of Aquimarina strains indicated the presence of novel polyketides and peptides, including cyclic depsipeptide-related compounds. The study further showed that Aquimarina species possess low-abundance distributions across marine biotopes worldwide. It emphasizes the relevance of this member of the microbial rare biosphere as a promising source of novel natural products, supporting future efforts to isolate new bioactive compounds from Aquimarina. The work was developed within the SymbioReactor project (DGPM | Fundo Azul program) led by Prof Rodrigo Costa and Dr Tina Keller-Costa and was first-authored by PhD student Sandra Silva. It also includes former MSc student Patrícia Paula, Dr Dalila Mil-Homens, Prof Miguel Teixeira and Prof Arsénio Fialho from BSRG-iBB as coauthors.

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June 5, 2022 11:33 AM
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Sea Ice Prokaryotic Communities in the Subarctic

Sea Ice Prokaryotic Communities in the Subarctic | iBB | Scoop.it

A transatlantic endeavour involving researchers from BSRG-iBB, CQE (IST) and Université Laval and INRS (Canada) provided the first comprehensive assessment of prokaryotic communities in the late winter ice and its underlying water along a natural salinity gradient in Hudson Bay, a cryo-environment marking the transition between Subarctic and Arctic biomes. The study, published in Science of Total Environment, was led by Prof. Rodrigo Costa, first-authored by MIT-Portugal PhD student Lígia Coelho and co-authored by PhD student Joana Couceiro, Dr Tina Keller-Costa and Profs. Zita Martins and João Canário. The team found sharp shifts in community structure between the ice and underlying water samples at sampling sites with higher salinity, and high abundance of culturable, pigment-producing bacteria in ice. The study suggests that salinity, photosynthesis and dissolved organic matter are main drivers of prokaryotic community structure in the winter ice of Hudson Bay, the ecosystem with the fastest sea ice loss in the Canadian North.

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December 21, 2021 6:54 AM
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Special Issue: Coral Reef Ecology, Conservation, and Inspiration for Marine Drugs Development

Special Issue: Coral Reef Ecology, Conservation, and Inspiration for Marine Drugs Development | iBB | Scoop.it

Marine invertebrates together with a plethora of symbiotic and free-living algae, fungi and prokaryotes are amidst the most prolific producers of bioactive compounds in coral reefs and marine environments at large. Their natural products often show astounding structural novelty and complexity, facilitating chemically mediated behaviours and interspecies interactions from competition to cooperation. There is great potential for a minimally invasive and economically reliable exploitation of bioactive secondary metabolites from the highly diverse and chemically complex reef communities. iBB researchers Tina Keller-Costa and Rodrigo Costa (BSRG) are guest editing a special issue on Coral Reef Ecology, Conservation and Inspiration for Marine Drugs Development in the Journal Marine Drugs and cordially invite the scientific community to contribute original research or review articles on the role of natural products in coral reef ecology and conservation, organismal interactions and biotechnology.

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January 26, 6:16 AM
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iBB and DBE researchers identify novel bacterial species from marine sponges in Portugal

iBB and DBE researchers identify novel bacterial species from marine sponges in Portugal | iBB | Scoop.it

The marine bacterial genus Aquimarina (Flavobacteriaceae, Bacteroidota) receives increased attention due to its versatile natural product biosynthesis capacity and antimicrobial activities. iBB and DBE researchers Joana Couceiro,Matilde Marques, Sandra Silva, Tina Keller-Costa and Rodrigo Costa identified two novel Aquimarina species, Aquimarina aquimarini Aq135T and Aquimarina spinulae Aq349T, isolated from marine sponges in Portugal, and describe them in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. Aq135T is known for its production of a unique set of peptide antibiotics, aquimarins, while Aq349T is known to produce the trans-AT polyketide cuniculene. In their polyphasic approach, the researchers used phylogenetic, phylogenomic, phenotypic, and biochemical analyses to determine the novel species statuses of both strains. The bacteria are available in BSRG-iBB’s culture collection associated with the ‘Portuguese Blue Biobank’ of the Blue Bioeconomy Pact and can be purchased at three internationally recognized culture collections - DSMZ, ATCC, and UCCCB.

iBB's insight:

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October 17, 2023 10:56 AM
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Widespread occurrence of chitinase genes in an iconic animal-dwelling bacterial family

Widespread occurrence of chitinase genes in an iconic animal-dwelling bacterial family | iBB | Scoop.it

Chitin is the most abundant natural polymer in the oceans, where it is primarily recycled by chitin-degrading microorganisms. Bacteria of the family Endozoicomonadaceae are prominent symbionts of sessile marine animals, particularly corals, contributing to nutrient cycling in their hosts. A new comparative genomics study, published in ISME Communications, found a widespread occurrence of chitinases, and other genes involved in chitin degradation in cultured and uncultured Endozoicomonadaceae lineages associated with diverse marine animals. The presence of multiple, distinct chitinases on the genomes of several Endozoicomonadaceae species hints at functional variation to secure effective chitin processing in diverse micro-habitats and changing environmental conditions. This study concludes that Endozoicomonadaceae symbionts likely play important roles in chitin turnover in filter- and suspension-feeding animals and in benthic, marine ecosystems at large. The work was developed by MSc students Daniela Silva and Filipa Pedrosa in the framework of the ChiCoBionts project led by iBB/DBE researcher Tina Keller-Costa with valuable contributions from professors Ângela Taipa and Rodrigo Costa.

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October 6, 2023 7:57 AM
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New video and abstract book out now! LIFE ON OUR PLANET DEPENDS ON MICROORGANISMS

New video and abstract book out now! LIFE ON OUR PLANET DEPENDS ON MICROORGANISMS | iBB | Scoop.it

If you missed the InternationalMicroorganismDay session at Academia das Ciências de Lisboa, you can now watch the full video of the symposium on YouTube: https://youtu.be/hOQqn-G8I18

The talks by Isabel Sá-Correia and Tina Keller-Costa, both from Departamento de Bioengenharia and iBB - Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences, start at 07:00 min and 01h32 min, respectively.


The abstract book with contributions from all speakers of the session is available in Portuguese and English on the ACL website.

iBB's insight:

Click here no know more: https://www.acad-ciencias.pt/books/a-vida-no-nosso-planeta-depende-dos-microrganismos/

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July 28, 2023 6:22 AM
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iBB & DBE researchers translate the comic magazine “Coral Heroes” into Portuguese

iBB & DBE researchers translate the comic magazine “Coral Heroes” into Portuguese | iBB | Scoop.it

PhD students Matilde Marques and Joana Couceiro, under coordination of Tina Keller-Costa, translated the comic magazine “Coral Heroes”, a copyrighted production of SECORE International, Inc, published for educational purposes. It provides information on the value, importance, and the threats to coral reefs around the world. The comic invites children to dive into the world of coral heroes Al, Samy, Jo, and Bran and join them on their adventures in the secret reefs of Towabonga.

It is a free publication, intended to be widely distributed without cost. With the Portuguese version added, the comic is now available in nine languages and can be downloaded here.

The idea to bring “Coral Heroes” to Portuguese-speaking children was born at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Germany in 2022 where Tina met Coral Heroes author Dr Carin Jantzen who leads outreach and public relations for SECORE International.

The Portuguese version premiered in a public school in Lisbon in June 2023, with Tina teaching a class on coral symbionts and her daughter Laura reading the comic to primary school children.

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July 11, 2023 4:49 AM
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Tina Keller-Costa presents at the International Conference on Culture Collections ICCC15

Tina Keller-Costa presents at the International Conference on Culture Collections ICCC15 | iBB | Scoop.it

IBB researcher Tina Keller-Costa gave a talk about her research on the coral microbiome entitled "Genome-resolved metagenomics provides novel insights into chitin turnover, metabolic specialization, and niche partitioning in the octocoral microbiome" at ICC15 in Braga this June. She also presented a poster showcasing the marine bacterial culture collection with >1000 strains isolated from marine animals and housed at iBB facilities.

The conference was an excellent opportunity to learn more about important legal and benefit sharing aspects of culture collections and to get in touch with culture collection representatives and organizations around the globe.

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July 11, 2023 4:32 AM
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Ruben Silva Defended PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences

Ruben Silva Defended PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences | iBB | Scoop.it

Ruben Silva defended his PhD thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences at Instituto Superior Técnico on July 06th 2023.  His thesis entitled “Uncovering the chitin degradation potential of the microbiomes of marine sponges and octocorals” was developed under the supervision of Prof Rodrigo Costa and Dr Tina Keller-Costa from iBB and Dr Cymon Cox from the Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR) in Faro. During the past years, Ruben studied chitin degradation pathways in culturable and unculturable bacterial symbionts of marine sponges and corals using metagenomics, genomics, and bioassays.  

iBB's insight:

Congratulations, Ruben!!!

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January 31, 2023 1:45 PM
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Exploring the Potential Molecular Mechanisms of Interactions between a Probiotic Consortium and Its Coral Host

Exploring the Potential Molecular Mechanisms of Interactions between a Probiotic Consortium and Its Coral Host | iBB | Scoop.it

A new article provides a genome-based roadmap to facilitate the selection of coral probiotics, also known as Beneficial Microbes for Corals (BMCs), and was just published in mSystems. Probiotics are starting to be investigated as a potential medicine for corals, marine animals that are threatened with extinction by the advance of climate change. Laboratory experiments have already proved the concept that coral probiotics mitigate coral bleaching and reduce coral mortality. This study now employed comparative genomics to identify exclusive BMC traits associated with specific probiotic strains and proposed new BMC mechanisms. The work was led by Prof Raquel Peixoto and her team from KAUST University at the Red Sea and received guidance on genomics of coral-associated bacteria from iBB/DBE researcher Dr Tina Keller-Costa.

iBB's insight:

Check full paper here

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November 23, 2022 7:02 AM
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MarineMetagenomeDB - curated and standardized metadata for marine metagenomes

MarineMetagenomeDB - curated and standardized metadata for marine metagenomes | iBB | Scoop.it

Metagenomics is an expanding field within microbiology and related disciplines. The number of metagenomes deposited in public databases is exponentially rising, but data mining and interpretation can be challenging due to mis-annotated metadata entries. The new Marine Metagenome Metadata Database (MarineMetagenomeDB) helps researchers to identify marine metagenomes of interest for re-analysis and meta-analysis and is a valuable resource for non-bioinformaticians to find marine metagenome samples with curated metadata. The study, published in Environmental Microbiome, was led by Dr Ulisses Nunes da Rocha and team from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Germany), and counted on specialist guidance in marine metadata standardization from iBB/DBE PhD-student Sandra Silva and researchers Tina Keller-Costa and Rodrigo Costa. The user-friendly web app is publicly available at here.

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Check ful paper here

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July 29, 2022 11:19 AM
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Microbiome manipulation for improved host and ecosystem health

Microbiome manipulation for improved host and ecosystem health | iBB | Scoop.it

In a perspective article published in Nature Microbiology, experts in the field of symbiosis and microbiome research address the current, acute loss of plant and animal diversity that poses serious threats to the functioning of terrestrial and marine ecosystems, human health, and the development of a sustainable bio-based economy. The potential, and examples of success, of microbiome-based interventions such as probiotics administration and microbiome transplants in improving the health and resilience of a broad range of host organisms towards climate change stressors and the emergence of novel diseases is debated, and a perspective is provided on how such interventions may contribute to the conservation and maintenance of services of man-made and natural ecosystems. The perspective, led by Prof. Raquel Peixoto at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), counted on expert contributions by iBB-BSRG researchers Dr. Rodrigo Costa and Dr. Tina Keller-Costa on microbiome manipulation strategies in aquaculture and coral reef ecosystems. The initiative was launched by a round table headed by the Beneficial Microorganisms for Marine Organisms (BMMO) network during the 15th Symposium on Bacterial Genetics and Ecology (BAGECO15, Lisbon 2019) chaired by Prof. Rodrigo Costa.

iBB's insight:

Check article at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-022-01173-1

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July 5, 2022 7:10 AM
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Sandra Silva Delivers Presentation at the FEMS Conference on Microbiology 2022

Sandra Silva Delivers Presentation at the FEMS Conference on Microbiology 2022 | iBB | Scoop.it

Sandra Godinho Silva, PhD candidate in Biotechnology and Biosciences, presented a talk entitled 'Big data meets natural products discovery: mining thousands of bacterial genomes to identify novel sources of drug leads' at the FEMS Conference on Microbiology 2022, held from 30 June to 2 July 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia. Her presentation explored the results of a large-scale comparative genomics approach to study natural product biosynthesis potential across 2680 bacterial genomes representing 1158 species and 175 genera of the metabolically-versatile order Flavobacteriales (phylum Bacteroidetes). Sandra was awarded a FEMS Research and Training Grant (GO-2019-511) to conduct her studies in the framework of an international collaboration on high-throughput genome mining led by Prof. Rodrigo Costa (BSRG-iBB, Portugal) and Dr. Ulisses N. da Rocha (Microbial Data Science Group, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ , Leipzig, Germany). The results will be compiled in Sandra’s PhD thesis, under the supervision of Prof. Rodrigo Costa and Dr. Tina Keller Costa (BSRG-iBB). Sandra also had the opportunity to co-chair an oral poster session with Prof. Bauke Oudega on 'FEMS Supported Projects & Miscellaneous', and her participation in the FEMS 2022 Conference was supported by a FEMS Congress Attendance Grant.

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June 5, 2022 11:37 AM
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Aquimarins, Peptide Antibiotics from a Sponge-Derived Aquimarina sp. Bacterium

Aquimarins, Peptide Antibiotics from a Sponge-Derived Aquimarina sp. Bacterium | iBB | Scoop.it

A joint collaborative effort coordinated by Prof Jörn Piel from the ETH Zürich (Switzerland) led to the identification of new antibiotic compounds from Aquimarina sp. strain Aq135 which was cultivated from the marine sponge Ircinia variabilis in the laboratory of Prof Rodrigo Costa from BSRG-iBB. Activity-guided isolation identified novel antibacterial peptides, named aquimarins, featuring a new scaffold with an unusual C-terminal amino group and chlorine moieties. Structure–activity relationship studies with these compounds showed that the synthetically more laborious chlorinations are not required for antibacterial activity but enhance cytotoxicity. In contrast, variants lacking the C-terminal amine were virtually inactive, suggesting diamines similar to the terminal aquimarin residue as candidate building blocks for new peptidomimetic antibiotics. The study was published in Angewandte Chemie.

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January 28, 2022 4:13 AM
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ChiCoBionts: Chitinases from the Octocoral Microbiome

ChiCoBionts: Chitinases from the Octocoral Microbiome | iBB | Scoop.it

ChiCoBionts, a new FCT-funded research project, exploits the octocoral microbiome in the search for novel chitinases of relevance to global biogeochemical cycling, food waste management, and the smart production of added-value molecules. The project starts in January 2022, is funded with 50,000 euros, and aims to discover, express, and characterise novel chitinases and chitinolytic microbes with the potential to outperform current commercial enzymes and to foster the development of blue biotechnology for chitin waste. The ChiCoBionts team joins iBB scientists from BSRG and BERG, including Tina Keller-Costa (PI), Ângela Taipa (Co-PI), Carla de Carvalho and Rodrigo Costa, in addition to ITQB researcher Nuno Borges and collaborators from the University of Brussels, Belgium.