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A Journal on Biotechnology and Molecular Biology
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BIOREMEDIATION - Part I
Minerva Biotecnologica 2001 March;13(1):41-54
Fertilia: a European International Cooperation (INCO EU) project for monitoring trace elements in agricultural ecosystems
Marmiroli N. 1, Maesri E. 1, Mucchino C. 1, Antonioli G. 1, Marmiroli M. 1, Garcia Izquierdo C. 2, Hernandez T. 2, Waclawek W. 3, Mocko A. 3, Bozym M. 3, Nowak A. 4, Nowak J. 5, Vecera Z. 6, Docekal B. 6
1 Division of Genetics and Environmental Biotechnologies, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Parma, Italy;
2 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Centro de Edafologìa y Biologia Aplicada del Segura, Murcia, Spain;
3 Institute of Chemistry, University of Opole, Opole, Poland;
4 Department of Microbiology, Academy of Agriculture, Szczecin, Poland;
5 Department of Biochemistry, Academy of Agriculture, Szczecin, Poland;
6 Institute of Analytical Chemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Department of Environmental Analytical Chemistry, Brno,Czech Republic
Background. A research project was financed starting in 1998 by the European Commission within the fourth Framework, involving International Cooperation (INCO EU) with Central European Countries. The project INCO Copernicus IC15-CT98-0124, acronym FERTILIA, addresses the relevance of trace metals for soil fertility. The participants come from four different countries: Italy, also acting as Coordinator, with the University of Parma, Department of Environmental Sciences, Division of Genetics and Environmental Biotechnology; Spain, with Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Centre for the Biology of the Soil; Poland, with two partners, the Academy of Agriculture, Department of Microbiology and the University of Opole, Institute of Chemistry; finally, the Czech Republic, with the Academy of Sciences, Department of Environmental Analytical Chemistry. The participants bring together different expertise ranging from the analytical chemistry to soil microbiology up to plant genetic engineering and physic spectroscopy. The overall purpose of the three years project FERTILIA is to monitor the partitioning of trace elements in agricultural plants and vegetables grown on European soils subjected to different fertilisation regimes, taking into consideration all the biological, pedological and geochemical factors which can affect their form.
Methods. Objectives and phases of the research are: determination of metal concentration in different sources of agricultural fertilisers (Action 1); physico-chemical analysis of metal concentration and aggregation in European soils (Action 2); analysis of metal content and partitioning in different organisms taken from different levels of soil ecosystem (Action 3); morphological and functional effects of metals monitored with biomarkers microorganisms, invertebrates, and plants (Action 4); analysis of ecotoxicological and genotoxic effects of metals through the utilisation of model systems (Action 5); production and description of spatial models of soil ecosystems, by integrating geochemical and biological data within a Geographic Information System (GIS) (Action 6).
Results. After the first year of research, Actions 1, 2, 3, and 4 reached a satisfactory set of experimental data. The last two actions are still in progress, because they require data from the first ones in order to be developed.
Conclusions. Beside trying to show whether heavy metals can flow in relevant amounts from fertilisers to soils and then to plants and soil microorganisms, this research project is trying to determine at which degree agricultural practices can modify soils metals content and the consequences this has on the crops quality.