Journal of Biodiversity, Bioprospecting and Development

ISSN: 2376-0214

Open Access

Research center on Metagenomics and Bioprospecting in the cerrado biome (RCMB)


Divaldo Rezende

Most of the biomass present in the planet is in the form of microorganisms. Recent molecular studies indicate that 1 g of soil may contain about 10 billion cells and thousands of microbial species. The discovery that the vast majority of these microorganisms are not cultivable (<1%) stimulated the development of technologies for culture-independent molecular studies (metagenomics). Currently, metagenomics arises as the main method of biotechnological search for new genes, enzymes and bioactive drugs. Metagenomics-based bioprospecting activity and the discovery of new substances of industrial interest have stimulated huge investments in research and the creation of several biotechnology companies worldwide. Large pharmaceutical companies, for instance, often hire small and medium enterprises to bioprospect for new molecules and to do the initial screening for potentially valuable products. The South Amazon Ecotone is located at the contact region between the Cerrado and the Amazon forest, and is commonly defined as the Amazonian savannas. The climate and geological characteristics of this region enable the development of a complex and sensitive biotic system and high level of endemism. This system depends on microorganisms to maintain the essential ecological processes. In general, the various interactions that occur between microorganisms and the environment (e.g. nutrient cycling) and other macro-organisms (e.g. symbionts) are considered essential to maintaining the health of ecosystems. Studies conducted at the beginning of this millennium, indicate that the Brazilian Cerrado belongs to the group of 25 “hotspots”recognized as the main centers of biodiversity in the world. The environmental conditions that enable the development of ecotone unique gene pools probably hold immeasurable potential for biotechnology. However, the biotechnological potential associated with this diversity is still mostly unknown as the Amazonian savannas have been poorly studied. This project proposes the creation of a research Center for Metagenomics and Bioprospecting in Cerrado (RCMB). Its main task will be to promote the bio-entrepreneurship, study, conservation and sustainable management of the Cerrado and its transition ecosystems.

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