"Combining microbial functional metagenomics and Caenorhabditis elegans genetics to uncover novel bioactive molecules and their molecular targets"
ULIXES is a FP7 project funded for three years (2011 to 2014). The consortium of ULIXES consists of 8 European and 4 non-European partners and it will be coordinated by Prof. D. Daffonchio , University of Milan.
The acronym of the project ULIXES is inspired by Odysseus (Ulysses or Ulixes in the Roman mythology), the legendary Greek king of Ithaca and one of the most popular heroes of the ancient Greek myths. The sampling strategy of ULIXES and the choice of the sites is overlapping with some of the paths of the long peregrinations of Odysseus, described by Homer in the Odyssey, one of the most important poems of the ancient Mediterranean civilizations.
The project ULIXES aims to unravel, categorize, catalogue, exploit and manage the microbial diversity available in the Mediterranean Sea for addressing bioremediation of polluted marine sites. ULIXES intends to provide the proof of concept that it is possible to establish and exploit for bioremediation site-specific collections of microbial strains, mixed microbial cultures, enzymes, biosurfactants and other microbial products.
A large set of polluted environmental matrices from sites located all over the Mediterranean Sea will be explored and three pollutant classes recognized worldwide as environmental priorities will be considered (petroleum hydrocarbons, chlorinated compounds and heavy metals) in order to:
- facilitate a detailed description of the microbial diversity of culturable and unculturable microorganisms associated to the polluted sites in the Mediterranean Sea basin;
- define the first map of the microbial diversity associated to polluted sites in the Mediterranean Sea;
- establish a collection of microbial isolates and mixed microbial cultures with catabolic/detoxifying capabilities of the three polluntant classes;
- establish a collection of microbial isolates capable of a) biopalladium nanoparticles precipitation and activation by new hydrogen donors, b) producing robust and versatile hydroxylases and/or biosurfactants and/or capable of biofilm formation;
- identify new functions by employing high-throughput methods;
- develop processes for the reductive dehalogenation of chlorinated compounds;
- develop processes of PCBs reductive dehalogenation by bio-palladium;
- define a fate model for metal and metalloids in function of biodegradation yield;
- simulate bioremediation models from experimental microcosms, mesocosms and pilot in situ field studies.