CENTRO DE RECURSOS NATURALES RENOVABLES DE LA ZONA SEMIÁRIDA

CONICET - UNS

PHARMACEUTICAL MICROBIOLOGY

PI: Dr. María Soledad Vela Gurovic
Adjunct Research, CONICET 
Teaching Assistant, Pharmacy, UNS 

CV

We focus on the use of microorganisms to produce molecules with high value in the fields of health and nutrition.

Current projects

  • Microbiologic production of molecules relevant for the health and industry

Lignocellulosic agroresidues produced in Argentina can be transformed by microbial natural degraders. Streptomyces spp. is a genus of bacteria commonly found in many lignocellulosic agroresidues and typically producing antibiotics and a wide diversity of molecules with industrial value. Recently, we have isolated a Streptomyces albus strain from sunflower seed hulls, an abundant local residue originated from sunflower oil production. We were able to assess the degrading potential of this strain from the complete genome sequence, as well as the potential to produce antibiotics and other bioactive molecules. Our current work aims at the use of this strain for the biotransformation of the agroresidue into molecules with high added value through bioprocesses in a biorefinery context.

  • Pharmaceutical and nutritional value of Ganoderma species

Ganoderma spp. is a genus of medicinal fungi historically used in Asiatic countries to treat a wide variety of diseases and to prolong life. The polysaccharides of these species exert immunomodulatory properties through multiple interconnected mechanisms that involve effects on the intestinal microbiome and on the immune system associated to the mucosa. We are currently working on the chemical and biological characterization of the raw material and intermediate products with the aim of designing products for human health to both preserve health and recover from illness. These works are part of the PhD thesis of Pharmacist Fatima Viceconte to obtain the academic grade of Doctor in Pharmacy. They will contribute to the development of methodologies for the analyses, identification and quality control of products derived from medicinal fungi, which have been long omitted as herbal medicines in our country. We are currently scaling the production to test the properties of the Ganoderma´s betaglucan against dysbiosis and immunosuppression in oncology patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Recent Publications

  • Vela Gurovic MS, Díaz ML, Gallo CA, Dietrich J.( 2021). Phylogenomics, CAZyome and core secondary metabolome of Streptomyces albus species. Molecular Genetics and Genomics 296:1299-1311. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00438-021-01823-9.

  • Viceconte FR, Diaz ML, Soresi DS, Lencinas IB, Carrera A, Prat MI, Vela Gurovic MS*. 2021. Ganoderma sessile is a fast polysaccharide producer among Ganoderma species. Mycologia 113:513-524 https://doi.org/10.1080/00275514.2020.1870255.

  • Tippelt A, Nett M, Vela Gurovic MS*. 2020. Complete Genome Sequence of the Lignocellulose-Degrading Actinomycete Streptomyces albus CAS922. Microbiology Resource Announcements 9:e00227-20. https://doi.org/10.1128/MRA.00227-20.

  • Agustín, M.dR., Viceconte, F.R., Vela Gurovic, M.S., Costantino, A. & Brugnoni, L.I. (2019). Effect of quorum sensing molecules and natamycin on biofilms of Candida tropicalis and other yeasts isolated from industrial juice filtration membranes. Journal of Applied Microbiology 126(6), 1808-1820. DOI 10.1111/jam.14248.

  • Necol, M.R., Vela Gurovic, M.S., Ruiz Díaz, S. & Silbestri, G.F. (2019). Binding silver to chitooligosaccharides through N-heterocyclic carbenes: Synthesis and antimicrobial activity. Carbohydrate Research 471, 6-12.

  • Blanco, M.G., Vela Gurovic, M.S., Silbestri, G.F., Garelli, A., Giunti, S., Rayes, D., De Rosa, M.J. (2018). Diisopropylphenyl-imidazole (DII): A new compound that exerts anthelmintic activity through novel molecular mechanisms. PLOS neglected tropical diseases 12(12): e0007021.
  • Vela Gurovic, M.S., Viceconte, F.R., Pereyra, M.T., Bidegain, M.A. & Cubitto, M.A. (2018). DNA damaging potential of Ganoderma lucidum extracts. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 217, 83-88.
  • Vela Gurovic, M.S. & Olivera, N.L. (2017). Antibacterial producing actinomycetes from Extra Andean Patagonia. Journal of Arid Environments 144, 216-219.
  • Korp, J., Vela Gurovic, M.S. & Nett, M. (2016). Antibiotics from predatory bacteria. Belstein Journal of Organic Chemistry 12, 594-607. Review.
  • Vela Gurovic, M.S., Dello Staffolo, M., Montero, M., Debbaudt, A., Albertengo, L. & Rodríguez, M.S. (2015). Chitooligosaccharides as novel ingredients of fermented foods. Food & Function 6, 3437-3443.

 Funding

€ 9,627.00 Euros (2021-2022) International Cooperation Program Bayerisches Hochschulzentrum für Lateinamerika (BAYLAT) -CONICET “Effects of Ganoderma polysaccharides on human gut microorganisms”

$ 61,433 USD (2021-2024) National Agency for the Public Production of Medicines “Betaglucans for oncology patients: scaling up and development of an herbal medicine”

$ 76,614 USD (2022-2025) Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation “Translational Medicine in a Public Hospital: monitoring of fecal microbiome in palliative care for oncology patients” IMPACTAR Challenge 76 https://www.argentina.gob.ar/ciencia/sact/impactar/desafio-76

$ 17,725 USD (2022-2025) Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, “Polysaccharides of Ganoderma: Scaling of production and development” PICT-2020-SERIEA-03527.

International collaborators

  • Technische Universität München – Prof. Dr. Klaus Neuhaus - ZIEL - Institute for Food & Health.
  • Tecnische Universität Dortmund - Prof. Dr. Markus Nett - Lehrstühl für Technische Biologie - Fakultät Bio- und Chemieingenieurwesen.

Collaborations in Argentina

Health

- Hospital Interzonal General Dr. José Penna and Hospital Italiano Regional del Sur- Oncologists Alejandro M Ferro and Rocío Villavicencio.

- Catholic University of La Plata UCALP. Nutritionists Seleme Ximena, Elisei Ana and Paz Noelia.

Scientific

- INBIOSUR - CCT Bahía Blanca -CONICET - Dra. Lorena I. Brugnoni. Project “Formation of multispecies biofilms associated to Food Industry: strategies for the biocontrol” (PICT 2015-0156) with the participation of Dr. Vela Gurovic and co-director of the Microbiologist María del Rosario Agustín (CONICET).

- Department of Biology, Biochemistry and Pharmacy, UNS- Dra. Ma. Inés Prat, Prof. Immunology, co-director of Pharmacist Viceconte - Antigenic characterization and immunological profile of Ganoderma spp.

- INQUISUR - CCT Bahía Blanca -CONICET – Chemistry Department, UNS. Doctors Silbestri Gustavo (Organic Chemistry), Costantino Andrea and Pereyra Marcelo (Instrumental Laboratory for shared use).

- INIBIBB- CCT Bahía Blanca -CONICET – Doctors Rayes Diego and De Rosa María José. Characterization of novel anthelmintic agents.

Staff and training of human resources

Dr. M. Soledad Vela Gurovic is a researcher of CONICET and docent of the career of Pharmacy, UNS. Pharmacist Fátima Viceconte is a Doctoral Fellow of CONICET since 2018 and works on her PhD thesis to earn the degree of Doctor of Pharmacy, UNS. Julian Dietrich is undergraduate student involved in the project supported by SeCyT UNS (PGI 24/B294). The group also hosted the following former undergraduate students Florencia Schwab (Biology, UNS), Moyano Anahí (Pharmacy, UNS), Puga Mariana (Pharmacy, UNS), Chazarreta Evangelina (Biochemistry, UNS), Serain Marcos (Pharmacy, UNS) and Santos Adriana (Pharmacy, UNS).

If you are interested in working with us, please write to

 

 


Group Members


Pharmacist Fátima Viceconte
Doctoral Fellow, CONICET



Julián Dietrich
Student, Bachelor of Biological Science, UNS



IMPACTAR PROJECT, Dec.2021, Coleman House