Loading...
Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Ionom of crop plants for safe and quality food production

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.00  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production   

Code Science Field
B310  Biomedical sciences  Physiology of vascular plants 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
Keywords
mineral nutrients, iron, selenium, ionome, metabolome
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (23)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  08387  PhD Iztok Arčon  Physics  Researcher  2018 - 2021  763 
2.  50928  PhD Andrija Ćirić  Chemistry  Researcher  2018 - 2020  28 
3.  05222  PhD Alenka Gaberščik  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2021  823 
4.  15122  PhD Mateja Germ  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2021  594 
5.  34326  PhD Aleksandra Golob  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2021  116 
6.  39096  PhD Mateja Grašič  Biology  Junior researcher  2018 - 2019  51 
7.  08523  PhD Jože Grdadolnik  Chemistry  Researcher  2018 - 2021  255 
8.  38121  PhD Anja Kavčič  Systems and cybernetics  Junior researcher  2018 - 2019  36 
9.  37782  Mitja Kelemen    Technical associate  2018 - 2021  171 
10.  23964  Milena Kubelj    Technical associate  2018 - 2021 
11.  20428  PhD Matevž Likar  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2021  281 
12.  50502  PhD Jasmina Masten Rutar  Control and care of the environment  Junior researcher  2018 - 2021  28 
13.  50618  PhD Dino Metarapi  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2018 - 2021  34 
14.  10677  PhD Marijan Nečemer  Chemistry  Researcher  2018 - 2021  350 
15.  11279  PhD Nives Ogrinc  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2018 - 2021  1,138 
16.  12314  PhD Primož Pelicon  Physics  Researcher  2018 - 2021  584 
17.  35156  PhD Mateja Potisek  Plant production  Junior researcher  2018 - 2020  39 
18.  12013  PhD Marjana Regvar  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2021  537 
19.  25442  PhD Martin Šala  Chemistry  Researcher  2018 - 2021  339 
20.  23492  PhD Vid Simon Šelih  Chemistry  Researcher  2018 - 2021  206 
21.  23261  PhD Johannes Teun Van Elteren  Chemistry  Researcher  2018 - 2021  265 
22.  21623  PhD Katarina Vogel Mikuš  Biology  Head  2018 - 2021  615 
23.  03950  PhD Dušan Žigon  Chemistry  Researcher  2018 - 2021  169 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,306 
2.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  20,968 
3.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  90,695 
Abstract
Mineral malnutrition affects more than half of the world’s population, while extensive use of artificial fertilizers together with pollution result in exceedingly high concentrations of potentially hazardous elements (PHE) in food crops. Iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), iodine (I) and selenium (Se) are mineral elements (ME) most often lacking in the diet, while on the other hand high contents of PHE like cadmium (Cd) and mercury (Hg) in staple food pose risks to animal and human health. Crop-based solutions, such as biofortification, represent the most cost-effective and sustainable strategy to reduce mineral malnutrition. In order to successfully implement the mentioned technology deep understanding of uptake, transport and accumulation mechanisms of ME and HE is needed as well as understanding of plant physiological responses at metabolome level. The ME and HE composition of an organism represents the inorganic component of cellular, tissue and organismal systems and was defined as the ionome. This project aims to correlate studies of plant ionomics and metabolomics in order to set the base for plant breeders to be able to further select/create ME-rich and PHE-reduced crop plants. More specifically the project will address questions in the two work packages (WPs). WP1 will tackle the ionomics and metabolomics of low phytic acid mutants (lpa) of common bean (Phraseoulus vulgaris) and maize (Zea mays) with emphasis on Fe metabolism at organ, tissue and cellular level. Recently lpa mutants accumulating less phytic acid and more free phosphorus (P) and cations in the grains were identified in the major grain crops. The aim is to correlate the gene expression for putative Fe and vacuolar phytic acid transporters with spatial distribution of phytic acid as well as spatial distribution and speciation of Fe in the seeds and vegetative tissues of lpa mutants. This will lead to a better understanding of the transport and accumulation of Fe in relation to phytic acid content and distribution that is highly linked to Fe bioavailability. In addition, linking the ionomic and metabolomic profiles of wild type and lpa mutants will provide knowledge on phenotypic effects, induced by knocking out the genes related to phytic acid synthesis and transport, which will enable to further tailor the lpa crops with high contents of bioavailable ME and good agronomical potential. WP2 will deal with effects of Se biofortification of lettuce on the uptake of ME and HE and their transfer further to the food chain by using terrestrial micro and mesocosm systems with a slug snail (Arion spp.) as a model bioindicator organism. To date, foliar and soil applications of Se fertilisers have proven to be feasible approaches to increase Se concentrations in the edible parts of crops; however, there is only little information on the metabolism of different Se compounds in plants and how these Se compounds may influence the plant ionome and metabolome and consequently the transport and accumulation of ME and HE further to the food chains. This knowledge would set a basis for designing high-quality Se biofortified food crops and help to evaluate toxicity and food safety aspects of Se biofortified crops in low and moderately polluted environments. In order to successfully fulfil the goals set in this project, high throughput techniques will be used for bulk analysis as well as to resolve spatial distribution of elements and selected important metabolites. Bulk mineral analyses will be performed by ICP-MS and XRF, while FTIR and MS based techniques (HPLC-MS, LC-MS) will serve to analyse profiles of the selected metabolites. Imaging of element distribution at tissue and cellular level will be performed by synchrotron u-XRF and u-PIXE, while MeV and KeV SIMS will be used for imaging of the spatial distribution of selected metabolites.
Significance for science
The knowledge that will be obtained in the project will provide novel insights into metabolic pathways of Fe and phytic acid in lpa mutants and novel insights into pleiotropic effects (when mutations of one gene alters more metabolic pathways) of lpa mutations that could affect agricultural potential of the bean and maize crops. This knowledge will set a basis for the guidelines for selecting bean and maize accessions with low level of pleiotropic effects, high nutrient value and good agronomic potential. Studies of interactions between Se and potentially hazardous elements (PHE) in Se biofortified plants will provide novel insights into the effects of Se and role of plant Se compounds in the transport of Cd and Hg from plants further into the food chain. In addition toxicity of the mentioned PHE will be evaluated in the presence of Se and different plant Se compounds. On the basis of obtained knowledge we will provide guidelines for breeding Se biofortified crops, taking into account the risks that are caused by moderate levels of PHE in soils. The topics is highly relevant and up to date, because in Slovenia and some other EU and non-EU countries the soils are Se deficient and this deficiency is reflected also in human nutrition and consequentially human health (problems with thyroidea and cardiovascular system). We will combine complementary "state of the art" imaging and speciation techniques to resolve Fe localization and speciation as well as relationships with phytic acid and the major metabolites at tissue and (sub)cellular levels in bean and maize grains. Such interdisciplinary technique approaches are common in material science, but not in the field of plant biology, mainly due to the lack of technical knowledge and collaboration with the community of technique providers (mainly physicists). For analyses that include for example synchrotron and accelerator based techniques extensive knowledge on sample preparation, measuring setup and data analysis is needed and this kind of knowledge can expand only through interdisciplinary networking. The members of the project group (joined in AICO consortium - www.aico.si) are one of the leading groups in the field of quantitative elemental imaging of biological samples by micro-PIXE, LA-ICPMS and XRF and have extensive experiences in using and complementing synchrotron and accelerator based techniques as reflected from more than 20 successful experiments performed at EU synchrotron facilities, ESRF, Elettra, DESY as well as numerous publications of the group members. The application of micro-PIXE, LAICPMS, SR-micro-XRF, micro-XANES, FTIR as well as MeV-SIMS analysis techniques within the project will open entirely new possibilities of research in the fields of plant biology analytical chemistry, biomedicine, food and material science. These high quality data will enable us to discover the complicated biogeochemistry of the selected potentially hazardous elements, formulating realistic hypotheses and adequately assessing the environmental impact risks associated with real life situations.
Significance for the country
The knowledge that will be obtained in the project will provide novel insights into metabolic pathways of Fe and phytic acid in lpa mutants and novel insights into pleiotropic effects (when mutations of one gene alters more metabolic pathways) of lpa mutations that could affect agricultural potential of the bean and maize crops. This knowledge will set a basis for the guidelines for selecting bean and maize accessions with low level of pleiotropic effects, high nutrient value and good agronomic potential. Studies of interactions between Se and potentially hazardous elements (PHE) in Se biofortified plants will provide novel insights into the effects of Se and role of plant Se compounds in the transport of Cd and Hg from plants further into the food chain. In addition toxicity of the mentioned PHE will be evaluated in the presence of Se and different plant Se compounds. On the basis of obtained knowledge we will provide guidelines for breeding Se biofortified crops, taking into account the risks that are caused by moderate levels of PHE in soils. The topics is highly relevant and up to date, because in Slovenia and some other EU and non-EU countries the soils are Se deficient and this deficiency is reflected also in human nutrition and consequentially human health (problems with thyroidea and cardiovascular system). We will combine complementary "state of the art" imaging and speciation techniques to resolve Fe localization and speciation as well as relationships with phytic acid and the major metabolites at tissue and (sub)cellular levels in bean and maize grains. Such interdisciplinary technique approaches are common in material science, but not in the field of plant biology, mainly due to the lack of technical knowledge and collaboration with the community of technique providers (mainly physicists). For analyses that include for example synchrotron and accelerator based techniques extensive knowledge on sample preparation, measuring setup and data analysis is needed and this kind of knowledge can expand only through interdisciplinary networking. The members of the project group (joined in AICO consortium - www.aico.si) are one of the leading groups in the field of quantitative elemental imaging of biological samples by micro-PIXE, LA-ICPMS and XRF and have extensive experiences in using and complementing synchrotron and accelerator based techniques as reflected from more than 20 successful experiments performed at EU synchrotron facilities, ESRF, Elettra, DESY as well as numerous publications of the group members. The application of micro-PIXE, LAICPMS, SR-micro-XRF, micro-XANES, FTIR as well as MeV-SIMS analysis techniques within the project will open entirely new possibilities of research in the fields of plant biology analytical chemistry, biomedicine, food and material science. These high quality data will enable us to discover the complicated biogeochemistry of the selected potentially hazardous elements, formulating realistic hypotheses and adequately assessing the environmental impact risks associated with real life situations.
Most important scientific results Interim report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results
Views history
Favourite