Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ECOFOULPEST (From marine molecules to eco-friendly tools for agriculture)
Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2020-08-31
In the search for new pesticides, several researches focused on marine natural products. It is well-known that the marine environment is an exceptional reservoir of bioactive products, which produce several novel structures absent from terrestrial natural products and with unique biological properties. A number of studies have suggested that some of the bioactive compounds isolated from marine organisms exhibit pesticidal properties. Such metabolites may be an environmentally-friendly alternative source for vector and agricultural pest control agents. Here, ECOFOULPEST project aims to further innovate the research effort towards the investigation of new pesticides by focusing on particular families of marine natural products with antifouling properties.
ECOFOULPEST objectives follow the key novel clear-cut aspects highlighted in the state-of-art. The main goal of ECOFOULPEST is to assess the potential of marine organisms to produce prototype eco-friendly tools for agriculture, especially herbicides and fungicides, and to further evaluate the potential hits. In parallel, I will investigate the biosynthetic pathway of the parent natural compound as well as its ecological role towards other marine organisms. Evaluation of such marine natural products and their biological properties will be executed through the following four concrete objectives, each corresponding to work packages (WP) listed on the Gantt chart.
Objective 1 (WP1): Screening of known marine antifoulings for pesticidal, in particular herbicidal and fungicidal, properties. This objective is based on the screening of marine natural compounds readily available to identify agro-bioactivities. The hits will be further modified for Structure-Activity Relationship (SAR) purposes. In parallel, toxicology studies will be carried out in order to focus research in non-toxic compounds.
Objective 2 (WP2): Screening of marine natural extracts (from fouling-free organisms) for pesticidal, in particular herbicidal and fungicidal, properties. In addition to the screening of known/putative antifouling compounds, it is also important to investigate new compounds through bioprospection. Easily accessible natural extracts will be screened on the selected biological targets. Hits will be isolated and identified.
Objective 3 (WP3): Chemical ecology and biosynthesis. This objective aims at understanding the ecological role of such antifoulings and marine extracts in nature, as well as the biosynthetic pathways of the parent natural compounds.
Objective 4 (WP4): Communication and dissemination. Communication and dissemination of the results will occur via seminars, conference presentations, public talks, submission of manuscripts to peer-reviewed science journals and local science outreach initiatives.