The USM researchers deep into Comau fjord in search of new bacteria

Team of the Department of chemical and systems biology and nanotechnology Centre reached the area of Huinay, commune of Hualaihue (X region) to make a sampling as part of an investigation aimed at the development of new antibiotics. A team of researchers from the Department of chemistry and center of nanotechnology and biology from the Universidad Santa Maria systems is conducting research that seeks new microorganisms, with the ultimate purpose of developing new antibiotics. Thus, moved to the tenth region, Huinay sector in the commune of Hualaihue, to carry out surveys of marine sediments looking for bacteria that, until now, have not been identified.

search of new bacteria

It’s a Fondecyt project led by Dr. Beatriz Camara, researcher in the Department of chemistry from the Universidad Santa Maria, who was part of the team welcomed during his expedition in the South of the country by Huinay Scientific Field Station, a centre dedicated to the investigation and characterization of the ecosystem of the area, mainly of marine species.

“We took samples of marine sediments from the shore up to 25 metres of depth. From these samples, the idea is trying to isolate mainly actinobacterias, because they are those that produce a greater quantity of bioactive compounds,”explains Dr. Beatriz Cámara, adding that “80% of the antibiotics we have today come from this type of bacteria”.

Hence the relevance of search for new bacteria and make it in remote and unexplored places. Once detected and characterized wanted genetic elements that are associated with the synthesis of antibiotics.

The research also includes the search for bacteria in the Bay of Valparaiso, “a place, unlike the sector where we did the first pickup in Huinay, which is tremendously intervened, then also will make a comparison of the samples,” says Dr. Camera.

International support

Dr. Edward Moore, Director of the Culture Collection University of Gothenburg (Sweden), institution that has the most important collection of microorganisms of the Scandinavian area, reaching 60,000 strains between bacteria and fungi is collaborating with the project. It is an institution that focuses its work in the areas of identification and characterization of hospital strains and research using proteomics, and DNA sequences in addition to studying the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics.

Currently, Dr. Moore supports Dr. Camera in the isolation of bacteria from samples taken in Huinay, using different methods of cultivation. In addition, the further process of identification of the bacteria will take place in the laboratories of the institution he heads.

“My main interest in participating in this research and sampling field is to discover new kinds of micro-organisms in an ecosystem so unexplored, where the chances of finding them are immense,” said Moore.

Dr. Michael Seeger, Director of the Center for nanotechnology and systems biology of the USM, explained that the project is part of a new line of research that develops in the area of biotechnology to the interior of the institution, and that in addition “is very associated PhD we teach on the subject, and also to the work of the Centre”. It said that “Dr. Beatriz Camara comes from specializing in one of five major universities of the world, such as Imperial College London. It people as she can develop this line of research, at the University, is tremendously relevant for the institution.”