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Development, calibration and interpretation of bioanalysis for sugarcane soil quality

Grant number: 22/04436-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2022
Effective date (End): August 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Soil Science
Principal Investigator:Acacio Aparecido Navarrete
Grantee:Luciano Ricardo de Oliveira
Host Institution: Universidade Brasil. Campus Fernandópolis. Fernandópolis , SP, Brazil


The definition and monitoring of soil quality parameters are essential for the sustainable primary production of sugarcane used in biologically-based industrial processes. In this sense, new methodologies based on molecular determinations can be associated with traditional methodologies and contribute directly to the assessment of the potential agro-environmental impacts of such production processes on the specific state of the soil. Thus, this research proposal aims to improve the agro-environmental performance of sugarcane plantations in São Paulo through the evaluation of soil quality based on the correlation of the quantified presence of microbial functional genes with sugarcane productivity and soil organic matter. A multianalytical approach involving molecular, physical and chemical analysis of the soil, agronomic evaluations of the sugarcane crop, bioinformatics, statistics and computation will be used to achieve the specific objectives defined by the project team. First, microbial functional genes will be selected and will have their ability to indicate the specific state of sugarcane soils managed with vinasse and filter cake confirmed in commercial and experimental plantations in the State of São Paulo. For this, the quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) technique will be used. The genes with confirmed ability to act as a bioindicator of the effects of the application of these organic residues in different classes and textures of soils in São Paulo will compose sets of genes for the development of a protocol for the use of the multiplex qPCR technique for bioanalysis of the quality of these soils involving multiple functional microbial genes. Finally, in order to assist in the individual interpretation of bioindicators, a strategy will be used to interpret the quantified presence of target genes based on the principles of nutrient calibration assays and sugarcane productivity. The development of this research project will contribute to strengthening the line of research in Soil Ecogenomics within the scope of the Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences at Universidade Brasil, seeking to ensure innovation by demonstrating the relationship of specific microbial genes in soil with agricultural productivity and soil quality. The project was structured to encourage cooperation and the exchange of experience between national and international research teams that use different scientific approaches and methodologies, however, complementary and capable of promoting knowledge in agro-environmental assessment, and will leave an important legacy in knowledge for the scientific understanding of microbiological indicators for the evaluation of the quality of sugarcane soils, thus being able to cooperate with the sustainability of these agroecosystems.

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