Dust and tropical PMx aerosols in Cape Verde: Sources, vertical distributions and stratified transport from North Africa

We investigated the sources and processes affecting the vertical distribution of tropical PMx aerosols (particulate matter -PM- smaller than 10, 2.5 and 1 μm, PM10, PM2.5 and PM1, respectively) in the low troposphere of Santo Antão and São Vicente islands, in Cape Verde archipelago, a region where a better understanding of aerosols is needed due to their involvement in tropical meteorology and their impact on air quality, ocean and climate. We found that local sources had a low-scale impact. From transect measurements at ground level, we found that PMx levels were predominantly low, except near to PMx sources, where distinctive PM1 / PM2.5 ratios were measured, linked to vehicle exhaust (0.96), biomass burning (0.67) and Cape Verdean dust (0.36) emissions. The depth of the marine boundary layer (MBL) and the vertical distributions of PMx showed wide variability prompted by meteorological conditions. The trade winds prevailed in the MBL, whereas other airflows were situated above it: North-Atlantic, African easterly airflow and Saharan Air Layer. Under North-Atlantic airflow conditions, the MBL extended to 1400 m above sea level (m.a.s.l.). Above this altitude, PMx concentrations decreased quickly (< 3 μg/m3) due to the free troposphere conditions. Under Saharan dust conditions, the MBL was confined to just 70 m.a.s.l., whereas a complex dust stratification was observed above, characterized by alternating dry air layers with high dust loads (PM10 ~ 100 μg/m3) and more humid air layers with lower aerosol loads (PM10 ~ 40 μg/m3). Within the dry easterly African airflow occurring above the marine stratocumulus typical of the MBL top (placed at 500 m.a.s.l.), we detected layers enriched in hydrophilic aerosols (PM10: ~ 8 μg/m3). These were imbedded in relatively humid air (RH ~48%), probably linked to secondary aerosol formation by in-cloud processes in the marine stratocumulus situated below. We found that PMx transport from North Africa, both under dust and dust-free conditions, is associated with complex vertical stratifications, even within the dusty Saharan Air Layer.

Rodríguez, Sergio; López-Darias, Jessica

Atmospheric Research 263: 105793 (2021)

The therapeutic potential of novel isobenzofuranones against Naegleria fowleri

The Free-Living Amoeba species, Naegleria fowleri is the causative agent of a lethal encephalitis known as Primary Amoebic Encephalitis (PAM). Moreover, most of the reported cases are often related to swimming and/or diving in aquatic environments. In addition, the current therapeutic options against PAM are not fully effective and hence, there is an urgent need to develop novel therapeutic agents against this disease. Previously isobenzofuranones compounds have been reported to present antiprotozoal and antifungal activity among others. However, to the best of our knowledge, these molecules have not been previously tested against N. fowleri. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the activity of 14 novel isobenzofuranones against this pathogenic amoeba. The most active and less toxic molecules, were assayed in order to check induction of Programmed Cell Death (PCD) in the treated amoebae. The obtained results showed that these molecules were able to eliminate N. fowleri trophozoites and also induced PCD. Therefore, the tested isobenzofuranones could be potential therapeutic candidates for the treatment of PAM.

Rizo-Liendo, Aitor; Arberas-Jiménez, Iñigo; Sifaoui, Ines; Gkolfi, Dimitra; Santana, Yiset; Cotos, Leandro; Tejedor, David; García-Tellado, Fernando; Piñero, José E.; Lorenzo-Morales, Jacob

International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance 17: 139-149 (2021)

Why consumers drink natural wine? Consumer perception and information about natural wine

Similar to other foods, the concept of natural wine is much debated due to the lack of a clear and regulated definition, leading to a proliferation of heterogeneous norms and standards proposed from different natural wine associations at national levels. The current study explored the aspects which mediate individuals’ information and perception of natural wine, and the rationale behind natural wine consumption behavior among Italian (n = 501) and Spanish (n = 527) regular wine consumers. The results reveal a quite low self-reported degree of perceived information by Italian respondents and slightly higher levels among Spanish ones. The key drivers of natural wine consumption in both countries are wine consumption frequency, information, and natural product interest. In contrast, higher wine involvement levels decrease natural wine consumption frequency in both Italy and Spain. The findings also show that different perceptions lead to diverse motivations, suggesting the need for more homogeneous standards to mitigate the level of information asymmetry currently on the market.

Vecchio, Riccardo; Parga-Dans, Eva; Alonso-González, Pablo; Annunziata, Azzurra

Agricultural and Food Economics 9(22): 1-16 (2021)

Digest: Revisiting morphology-derived hypotheses of hybridization in the light of genomics

Genetic exchange between independently evolving lineages may give rise to the formation of new taxa, and hypotheses for this have been derived from species with intermediate phenotypes, when compared to potential parental species. Goulet-Scott and collaborators (2021) evaluate such a hypothesis in a wildflower species complex by integrating genomic and trait information. They find no support for hybrid speciation, despite detecting signatures of genetic admixture in some individuals resulting from interspecific gene flow in a hybrid zone.

Noguerales, Víctor

Evolution (2021)

1,5-Hydrogen Atom Transfer/Surzur–Tanner Rearrangement: A Radical Cascade Approach for the Synthesis of 1,6-Dioxaspiro[4.5]decane and 6,8-Dioxabicyclo[3.2.1]octane Scaffolds in Carbohydrate Systems

The 1,5-HAT–1,2-(ester)alkyl radical migration (Surzur–Tanner rearrangement) radical/polar sequence triggered by alkoxyl radicals has been studied on a series of C-glycosyl substrates with 3-C-(α,β-d,l-glycopyranosyl)1-propanol and C-(α-d,l-glycopyranosyl)methanol structures prepared from chiral pool d- and l-sugar. The use of acetoxy and diphenoxyphosphatoxy as leaving groups provides an efficient construction of 10-deoxy-1,6-dioxaspiro[4.5]decane and 4-deoxy-6,8-dioxabicyclo[3.2.1]octane frameworks. The alkoxyl radicals were generated by the reaction of the corresponding N-alkoxyphthalimides with group 14 hydrides [n-Bu3SnH(D) and (TMS)3SiH], and in comparative terms, the reaction was also initiated by visible light photocatalysis using the Hantzsch ester/fac-Ir(ppy)3 procedure. Special attention was devoted to the influence of the relative stereochemistry of the centers involved in the radical sequence on the reaction outcome. The addition of BF3•Et2O as a catalyst to the radical sequence resulted in a significant increase in the yields of the desired bicyclic ketals.

León, Elisa I.; Martín, Ángeles; Montes, Adrián S.; Pérez-Martín, Inés; Rodríguez, María del Sol; Suárez, Ernesto 

Journal of Organic Chemistry (2021)

Site-selective modification of peptide backbones

The site-selective modification of peptide backbones allows an outstanding fine-tuning of peptide conformation, folding ability, and physico-chemical and biological properties. However, to achieve selectivity in the core of these biopolymers is challenging. In the last few years, many advances towards this goal have been developed. This review addresses the selective modification of Cα- and N-positions, from the use of “customizable units” to the residue-directed introduction of substituents. The site-selective modification of the peptide bond, i.e. the formation of thioamides or heterocycles, which alters backbone rigidity and ability to form hydrogen bonds or recognition by enzymes, is also described. Moreover, not only the modifications in internal backbone positions, but also in the N- and C-termini are discussed. In addition to chemical methodologies, the review addresses some reactions, catalyzed by natural or engineered enzymes, that afford unprecedent regio- and stereoselectivity in backbone modifications.

Boto, Alicia; González Martín, Concepción C.; Hernández, Dácil; Romero-Estudillo, Iván; Saavedra, Carlos J.

Organic Chemistry Frontiers: 1-40 (2021)

Litosetoenins A–E, Diterpenoids from the Soft Coral Litophyton setoensis, Backbone-Rearranged through Divergent Cyclization Achieved by Epoxide Reactivity Inversion

Litosetoenins A–E (1–5), five new ring-rearranged serrulatane-type diterpenoids with a common tricyclo[3.0.4]decane core, along with a known diterpenoid glycoside (6), a related known diterpenoid (7), and four known sesquiterpenoids (8–11), were isolated from a Balinese soft coral Litophyton setoensis. Spirolitosetoenin A (5a) and isospirolitosetoenin A (5b), featuring an unprecedented spiro[4,5]decane core, were obtained after treatment of compound 5 with HCl in methanol. The structures of new compounds were elucidated by extensive spectroscopic analysis, quantum mechanical nuclear magnetic resonance approach, and chemical methods. A plausible biosynthetic pathway involving an unusual divergent biogenesis was proposed.

Li, Song-Wei; Mudianta, I. Wayan; Cuadrado, Cristina; Geng, Li; Yudasmara, Gede A.; Setiabudi, Gede I. ;Hernández Daranas, Antonio; Guo, Yue-Wei

Journal of Organic Chemistry 86(17): 11771–11781 (2021)

A unified model of species abundance, genetic diversity, and functional diversity reveals the mechanisms structuring ecological communities

Biodiversity accumulates hierarchically by means of ecological and evolutionary processes and feedbacks. Within ecological communities drift, dispersal, speciation, and selection operate simultaneously to shape patterns of biodiversity. Reconciling the relative importance of these is hindered by current models and inference methods, which tend to focus on a subset of processes and their resulting predictions. Here we introduce Massive Eco-evolutionary Synthesis Simulations (MESS), a unified mechanistic model of community assembly, rooted in classic island biogeography theory, which makes temporally explicit joint predictions across three biodiversity data axes: i) species richness and abundances; ii) population genetic diversities; and iii) trait variation in a phylogenetic context. Using simulations we demonstrate that each data axis captures information at different timescales, and that integrating these axes enables discriminating among previously unidentifiable community assembly models. MESS is unique in generating predictions of community-scale genetic diversity, and in characterizing joint patterns of genetic diversity, abundance, and trait values. MESS unlocks the full potential for investigation of biodiversity processes using multi-dimensional community data including a genetic component, such as might be produced by contemporary eDNA or metabarcoding studies. We combine with supervised machine learning to fit the parameters of the model to real data and infer processes underlying how biodiversity accumulates, using communities of tropical trees, arthropods, and gastropods as case studies that span a range of data availability scenarios, and spatial and taxonomic scales.

Overcast, Isaac; Ruffley, Megan; Rosindell, James; Harmon, Luke ; Borges, Paulo A. V.; Emerson, Brent C.; Etienne, Rampal S.; Gillespie, Rosemary; Krehenwinkel, Henrik; Mahler, D. Luke; Massol, Francois; Parent, Christine E.; Patiño, Jairo; Peter, Ben; Week, Bob; Wagner, Catherine; Hickerson, Michael J.; Rominger, Andrew

Molecular Ecology Resources: 1-46 (2021)

Macroclimatic structuring of spatial phylogenetic turnover in liverworts

Phylogenetic turnover has emerged as a powerful tool to identify the mechanisms by which biological communities assemble. When significantly structured along environmental gradients, phylogenetic turnover evidences phylogenetic niche conservatism, a critical principle explaining patterns of species distributions at different spatio–temporal scales. Here, we quantify the contribution of geographic and macroclimatic drivers to explain patterns of phylogenetic turnover in an entire phylum of land plants, namely liverworts. We further determine whether climatic niche conservatism has constrained the distribution of liverworts in the course of their evolutionary history. Two datasets, one insular, focused on 60 archipelagos and including 2346 species, and the second global, including 6334 species in 451 oceanic and continental operational geographic units (OGUs) worldwide, were assembled. Phylogenetic turnover among OGUs was quantified through πst statistics. πst-through-time profiles were generated at 1 Myr intervals along the phylogenetic time-scale and used to compute the correlation between πst, current geographic distance and macroclimatic variation with Mantel tests based on Moran spectral randomization to control for spatial autocorrelation. The contribution of macroclimatic variation to phylogenetic turnover was about four-times higher than that of geographic distance, a pattern that was consistently observed in island and global geographic settings, and with datasets including or excluding species-poor OGUs. The correlation between phylogenetic turnover and geographic distance rapidly decayed at increasing phylogenetic depth, whereas the relationship with macroclimatic variation remained constant until 100 Mya. Our analyses reveal that changes in the phylogenetic composition among liverwort floras across the globe are primarily shaped by macroclimatic variation. They demonstrate the relevance of macroclimatic niche conservatism for the assembly of liverwort floras over very large spatial and evolutionary time scales, which may explain why such a pervasive biodiversity pattern as the increase of species richness towards the tropics also applies to organisms with high dispersal capacities.

Collart, Flavien; Wang, Jian ;Patiño, Jairo; Hagborg, Anders; Söderström, Lars; Goffinet, Bernard; Magain, Nicolas; Hardy, Olivier J.; Vanderpoorten, Alain

Ecography: 1-12 (2021)

Trophic strategies of two sympatric endemic pigeons in insular ecosystems: a framework for understanding spatiotemporal frugivory interactions

Pigeons are considered to play key ecological roles in frugivory and seed dispersal. They have colonised numerous oceanic islands and diversified into several species in sympatry. How these species coexist in similar niches is poorly understood although dietary separation is among the mechanisms suggested to avoid trophic overlap. We investigated the trophic ecology of the two endemic Columba species co-occurring in the laurel forest and thermosclerophyllous relicts of two of the Canary Islands. This study includes diet description in spatiotemporal terms, its relationship with fruit availability and seed treatment in 10 study areas established on La Palma and La Gomera. We used non-invasive DNA analysis to identify the faeces of the two con-generic species and microhistological methods to examine their diets. The degree of trophic overlap was evaluated by niche similarity and breadth indices. Molecular faecal sampling determined the spatiotemporal distribution of both pigeons to identify their areas of coexistence. These frugivorous pigeons’ diets did not differ concerning the main plant species, but they diverged quantitatively in the proportions and parts of plants consumed. Lauraceae fruits were their staple foods although Rhamnaceae and some Fabaceae and Solanaceae were also important. Both pigeons showed selective preferences for some fruits. Significant spatiotemporal variations in their diets were observed along with a general tendency to increase fruit intake at its ripening times. Our results suggest that different trophic strategies facilitate the coexistence of these frugivorous columbids. These pigeons act as seed dispersers and/or predators depend ing on seed features (size and hardness), and this may have valuable implications for their conservation.

Marrero, Patricia; Nogales, Manuel 

Journal of Avian Biology: 1-14 (2021)