SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
15 June 2017
Volume 18 Issue 6

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MicroCokit Project Training Course: Methods for Detecting and Quantifying Aquatic Microbial Communities

Paola Grenni, SETAC Italian Branch President, and Anna Barra Caracciolo, SETAC Italian Branch Scientific Events Dissemination

“Microbial community-based sequencing analysis linked to anthropogenic pressures: MicroCoKit to address the water quality” is a FP7 Marie Curie Industry–Academia Partnerships and Pathways project funded under the FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IAPP call. It is a close cooperation between academic groups – Water Research Institute, National Research Council of Italy (Istituto di Ricerca sulle Acque, Consiglio Nazionale delle Riceche, CNR-IRSA-IT), European Union Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Marine Biological Association of the UK, Plymouth (MBA-UK) – and leading private enterprises – LGC-UK and Natural Biotech-Spain (NTBC).

MicroCokit Project Training Course
Twenty-one young people from seven different countries (United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, France, South Africa and Italy) enthusiastically attended the training course.

The MicroCokit project, coordinated by CNR-IRSA, was conceived as a way to investigate and identify aquatic indicators based on the microbial communities linked to anthropogenic pressures. It fosters the transfer of knowledge between academic and company partners, with a final goal of bringing sensitive and robust tools to assess the water quality based on quantitative real time PCR (qPCR), fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and microarray techniques to the market faster.

The three-day training course disseminated the results of the molecular bio-tools used for the characterization of microbial communities in natural environments and under different anthropogenic pressures. The facilities were made available by the IRSA-CNR and provided a good home for this theoretical and practical course.

On the first day of the course, lectures were focused on the molecular methods used to characterize natural microbial communities, with particular regard to qPCR/RT-qPCR, direct epifluorescence microscope methods, microarray and -omic methods. The teachers were members of the MicroCokit partnership – Anna Barra Caracciolo and Paola Grenni from IRSA-CNR, Rebecca Sanders from LGC, Diana Conduto from JRC, Linda Medlin from MBA and Gerardo Mengs from NTBC.

The second and third days consisted of interactive lab lessons among teachers and students, where the methodologies were shown step-by-step, such as sample processing, use of instruments and data elaboration. The Marie Curie Post-Docs, Maria Ludovica Saccà and Marina Di Lenola, involved in the MicroCokit Project, contributed to the lab training.

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