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Investigation of the effect of prolonged nuclear radiation on the aboriginal bacterial populations in the zone of the Chernobyl atomic power station catastrophe


The catastrophe at the Chernobyl atomic power station (ChAPS) in 1986 resulted in the radioactive pollution of vast territories of European countries. The question of how to treat people and animals who suffered from radioactive damage and are still living in the polluted areas is very acute for Ukraine. This requires a fundamental study of the effect of prolonged radiation on living organisms. The study of the radiation effect on the heredity of animals is necessarily protracted due to the long generation time. In this aspect bacteria are more convenient objects of investigation as their generation time is from 30 minutes to a few hours. It is planned to use definite species of bacteria as model objects of investigation of the prolonged nuclear radiation effect on living organisms in natural conditions created after the explosion of the ChAPS reactor.

An objective of this project is to study the changes in the composition of bacterial populations in the ChAPS zone, including the changes which occurred in genes controlling the rate of genetic variability and in other cell protection systems.

The research work will include the following steps: investigation of qualitative and quantitative changes in the species composition of bacterial populations; investigation of the specific systems employed by these organisms allowing them to adapt genetically to radiation stress; determination of the expression level of enzyme systems of cell protection from radiation such as enzymes, detoxifying active species of oxygen; comparative analysis of investigated properties of the same species isolated from samples collected in the ChAPS zone and unpolluted areas.

A long-term objective of the project is to reveal the cellular mechanisms responsible for the resistance of bacterial populations to prolonged nuclear radiation.

Meccanismo di finanziamento

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Max-Planck Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V.

24302 Plon

Partecipanti (2)

National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

252143 Kiev
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Paesi Bassi

9751 NN Haren