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Diversity of cyanobacteria in biological crusts and evaluation of cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic activity

Grant number: 14/06245-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2014
Effective date (End): October 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany
Principal Investigator:Luis Henrique Zanini Branco
Grantee:Náthali Maria Machado de Lima
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências, Letras e Ciências Exatas (IBILCE). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de São José do Rio Preto. São José do Rio Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):15/17709-8 - Diversity and ecology of cyanobacteria of biological soil crusts in Brazilian savannah, BE.EP.MS

Abstract

Biological crusts are communities composed of cyanobacteria, green algae, microfungi, bacteria, lichens and mosses, although not always they contain all those forms. The crusts occur in a variety of climatic regions around the globe, usually settling in areas where vegetation cover is sparse enough for the sunlight reaches the surface. The crusts have important biological functions such as providing stability and protection of soil against erosive forces, accumulating and increasing the water residence time in soil, besides to promote germination and to fix nitrogen and carbon. In order to explain the function of biological crusts, it is necessary a solid background about the organisms that compose them, however, there are no studies about the nature and structure of the cyanobacterial assemblages of crusts in Brazilian environments. Thus, the main goal of this work is the taxonomic survey and molecular characterization of the cyanobacteria of biological crusts from Brazilian savanna areas in two national parks located in the Minas Gerais State. Moreover, in recent years, cyanobacteria have gained much attention in the search for bioactive compounds, and some studies found that different heterocytous cyanobacteria are capable of enzyme production. Because the biological crusts potentially host high cyanobacterial diversity, including heterocytous forms, it is believed that the some species from crusts have potential for the production of cellulolytic and hemicellulolitic enzymes, which will be evaluate in the second approach of this project.