Principal Investigator
Catarina Magalhães

Leader Institution

Research Teams


GENiuSAMPLER: Autonomous biosampler to capture in situ aquatic microbiomes

The relevance of planktonic microbial communities is well acknowledged, once they are fundamental to control primary productivity, the flux of nutrients, and recycling of anthropogenic organic and inorganic contaminants. The runoff of nutrients/pollutants can affect the equilibrium of natural microbial communities influencing the occurrence of microbial pathogens and/or microbial toxin producers, which can imbalance the natural ecosystem. Therefore, it is essential to improve microbial plankton monitoring to better understand how these communities respond to environmental shifts.
However, monitoring marine microbial communities involves sampling costly and time consuming procedures. This project refers to an in situ autonomous biosampler able to collect in situ planktonic microbiomes of different size fractions and store their DNA and RNA for posterior use of highly sensitive genomic approaches for the detection of the specific microbial communities diversity/groups and functions.
The efficiency of the IS-ABS was tested with traditional laboratory filtration standardized protocols. The GENiuSAMPLER automates the process of collecting environmental DNA and is expected to dramatically increase the biological surveillance capabilities by allowing its integration in water observation systems and by promoting the use of highly sensitive genomic approaches for the detection of the diversity and functions of the specific microbial communities.
The international patent application will represent a competitive advantage in the search for new economic partners to support the developments needed to take GENiuSAMPLER to market and to ensure an effective commercialization, stimulating the national competitiveness.