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Boost for microbiology and biotech in Greece

Straddled between east and west, in a temperate climate that fosters unusual nature and biodiversity, Greece is a haven for research and testing related to the natural sciences.

Climate Change and Environment

The EU-funded project 'Supporting environmental microbiology and biotechnology research potential in western Greece' (MicrobeGR) is working to detect, identify and manage microbial communities and pathogens in the environment. It is investigating insect pests and disease vectors that pose significant challenges for the agricultural, environmental and medical communities. The project has developed a user-friendly web portal including MicrobeGR's current research activities, relevant news, events calendar, and research publications. It has recruited researchers in DNA and microbial ecology to initiate new research areas in environmental microbiology and biotechnology. A microarray facility has been established to study microbial diversity and pathogens, and new equipment, such as a genetic analyser and a DNA imaging system, have been established. The equipment has been installed in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Management, University of Ioannina. Different researchers and institutions can have access to it. The project also initiated staff networking and exchange programmes, and oversaw a workshop on 'Molecular approaches to unravel the hidden microbial world', held in 2009. It yielded a plethora of results that benefit all aspects of the molecular-microbial-ecology field. These results, combined with the other project initiatives, will advance our understanding of crop disease and other environmental challenges. They will also advance microbiology and biotechnology in novel ways, benefitting from enhanced local facilities and Greece's natural biodiversity.

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