The world is growing at nearly unsustainable rate. As a result of human action, more than a million animal and plant species could disappear in the coming decades.
Human activity has significantly altered 75% of the soils of our planet and 66% of the ocean. With the growth of human population, more than a third of the earth's surface and 75% of fresh water resources are now being used to grow food crops.
Since 1980, plastic pollution has grown tenfold and humans are now pumping 300-400 million tons of heavy metals, oils, solvents, toxic sludge and other waste from industrial plants in our seas and waterways every year.
Our research shows that the demand for more sustainable and lower environmental impact products is growing rapidly.
The term "Metagenomics" indicates the direct analysis of the total DNA extracted from an environmental sample.
This analysis aims not only to define the genomes of all microorganisms in a given environment, but also their potential functions.
The characterisation and analysis of soil microbial genomes is currently the most scientifically advanced approach for the study of the function of soil itself and for the exploitation of the potential of this new type of analysis.
To date, metagenomics has been applied to relatively simple or particularly specialized environments; however the development of new sequencing technologies now makes it possible to complete soil metagenome sequencing which, from a microbiological point of view, is certainly the most complex environment.
Knowledge of the soil metagenome allows insight into the role of microorganisms in the functionality of soil itself and in its processes, allowing us to investigate the bio-remediation of soils in an in-depth and scientific manner. This approach represents an innovation in environmental remediation and Soil-Omics opens new perspectives and develops original methods to interpret the immense amount of information arising from metagenome sequencing.
The real challenge here is more about being able to analyze and interpret the vast amount of information contained in the soil metagenome itself rather than simply extracting and sequencing it. Another strong point in favour of our solution is thus represented by the presence of bio-computer scientists interpreting the enormous amount of data generated by the aforementioned sequencing processes.
DNA metabarcoding consists of targeted sequencing of genetic markers that provide taxonomic information combined with the new NGS (next generation sequencing) technologies.
Metabarcoding provides reliable information on both the diversity and abundance of the microbial community (what microorganisms are there? and how many of each type), as well as their function (what can microorganisms do?), also supplying information on the structure and dynamics of the microbiome in situ. Metabarcoding allows monitoring and evaluation of the bioremediation process.
Soil microbiota plays the crucial role of effector and controller of all the processes that take place in soil and is responsible for decontamination of environmental matrices, both as primary and final effector, through mutualistic interactions within the ecosystem.
The proposed technology exploits the soil microbiota, present in both saturated and vadose zones, providing a solution for both. Groundwater and soil must be considered as a single matrix and Soil-Omic acts both on the mineral and organic part as well as on its aqueous component.
The company has the potential for considerable positive socio-economic impact across a broad local region: the contribution of cutting edge value scientific and technological solutions calls for the involvement of institutes, laboratories, researchers working in the nearby districts but also of subjects and institutions that bring to the community know how from other European countries and all over the world.
The cultural growth of the surrounding areas in which it operates forms part of the business ethics of the project: the extensive employment of the biotechnological applications, both on a pilot scale and on a real scale, will also imply drawing on local resources, both for supplies and services, thus prompting new employment opportunities at a regional level and the training of new professional profiles (such as bio-technologists, bio-computer scientists, bio-engineers, etc) functional to the growth of a highly specialized business.