The Pampa Húmeda region constitutes the main agricultural exploitation zone in our country. Its soils are subjected to intensive agricultural exploitation practices, with annual rotation of various crops dependent on the application of agrochemicals. Among them, herbicides such as glyphosate, atrazine or 2,4-D, are the most widely and intensively used pesticides. This has generated a growing concern about the fate of these products and their metabolites in the environment, and their possible effects on human health and on ecosystems. Taking into account the extent of the territory affected and the need to preserve the texture and quality of the arable land, a sustainable remediation approach, low cost of implementation and great public acceptance arises as the best option. Phytoremediation, defined as the use of plants and their associated microorganisms for the in situ treatment of soils, sediments and surface waters is an excellent proposal to deal with this problem on a large scale. Our line of research focuses on the design of biotechnological strategies that, through phyto / rhino-remediation processes, mitigate the impact on health and the environment resulting from the use of agrochemicals in agro-ecosystems. As part of this design, i) soil and water contamination levels are evaluated by gaseous and liquid chromatography techniques, ii) appropriate plant species are selected and their physiological processes and herbicide tolerance are evaluated using in vitro culture systems, hydroponics and in camera and, iii) biochemical, cultural and molecular microorganisms that isolate soil and rhizosphere are isolated and characterized, in order to then scale their production in liquid cultures. Once the soil-microorganism-contaminant-plant interactions and their dynamics have been characterized, the degradation processes in laboratory-scale microcosms and field plots are evaluated, in order to select the best culture alternatives and inoculant formulations in order to implement this technology on a field scale.

Principal Researcher
Dra. Ana M. Giulietti.
Group members
Dr. Luciano Merini.
Bioq. Francisco Massot.