Diet of the black rat (Rattus rattus) in a Canary laurel forest: species identification based on morphological markers and DNA sequences

The black rat (Rattus rattus) is an alien species that causes severe 10 impact on island ecosystems, floras and faunas. The main aim of this study was to determine the plant and animal contributions to black rat diet in a pristine misty laurel forest area on La Palma (Canary Islands). Our working hypothesis was that this rat equally consumes plants and animals (fully omnivorous animal) wherever it is intro- 15 duced, including pristine habitats. A total of 483 droppings collected from the terrain were first morphologically examined using a stereomicroscope, which showed high plant consumption (presence in 92.4% of droppings), followed by invertebrates (46.0%) and vertebrates (31.2%). DNA-based analyses revealed even higher pro- 20 portions of plants (97%) and invertebrates (79%), while fine-scale sequence searches (DNA barcoding) in the GenBank (BLAST tool) provided a preliminary identification of 44 plants and 12 invertebrate taxa. To gain more in-depth insight into plant identification, we built up a local DNA reference collection (58 species), improving accuracy 25 (30 species confirmed) compared to GenBank searches (25 species). Contingency analyses (chisquare and G-test) only showed significant differences in droppings between plant sequences and toxic plant presence. This study confirms that the black rat is here an omnivorous animal but with a strong plant diet component, including an intrigu- 30 ingly high number of toxic plants. Interestingly, despite rodents chewing on fruits and usually crushing seeds, 66 intact Rubus seeds (Rosaceae) were found in 15 droppings (3.1%). All these results suggest that black rats consume any plant types, including fruits and seeds that can be locally dispersed such as native brambles.

Pomeda-Gutiérrez, Fernando; Medina, Félix M.; Nogales, Manuel; Vargas, Pablo

Journal of Natural History 55(9-10): 629-648 (2021)

Sea dispersal potential and colonization of the Galápagos littoral flora

Aim Seed dispersal by oceanic currents (thalassochory) is considered one of the main long-distance dispersal (LDD) mechanisms for the colonization of oceanic islands by plants. Diaspores of littoral species are often hypothesized to be physiologically adapted to seawater dispersal, favouring interisland colonization. In this study, we experimentally tested the sea dispersal potential of a large proportion of Galápagos littoral flora and explored its correlation with plant distribution across the archipelago. We propose a simple Sea Dispersal Potential index (SDPi) to quantify the thalassochorous potential of any species. Location Galápagos archipelago. Taxon Littoral angiosperms. Methods We combined information on seed floatability (flotation time) and viability experiments (tetrazolium test) into an SDPi for 19 native littoral plants and tested whether increasing dispersal potential is associated with broader interisland distributions. We then tested if the presence of morphological structures related to thalassochory is associated with the functional SDPi. Results A relatively low, albeit highly variable, SDPi across Galápagos littoral plant species was found. No correlation was found between SDPi and species distributions. Morphological traits hypothesized to favour sea dispersal are not related to thalassorous potentials to reach closest islands, but they are positively associated with SDPi to reach the farthest islands. Main conclusions SDPi is shown to be a useful tool to compare the thalassochorous potentials of entire floras in a given geographical context. The low performance of most of the species questions the general assumption that most littoral plants are highly adapted to long-distance sea dispersal. Our results support the view that island colonization is a multifactorial process and that the use of dispersal syndromes is insufficient to make biogeographical predictions in macroecology studies. Further research should integrate functional indices (e.g., SDPi) with complementary tools (genetics, remote diaspore tracking) to determine the actual drivers of species dispersal and establishment.

Fuster-Calvo, Alexandre; Nogales, Manuel; Heleno, Rubén; Vera, Carlos; Vargas, Pablo

Journal of Biogeography 48(8): 1904-1916 (2021)

Validation of a Method Scope Extension for the Analysis of POPs in Soil and Verification in Organic and Conventional Farms of the Canary Islands

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are among the most relevant and dangerous contaminants in soil, from where they can be transferred to crops. Additionally, livestock animals may inadvertently consume relatively high amounts of soil attached to the roots of the vegetables while grazing, leading to indirect exposure to humans. Therefore, periodic monitoring of soils is crucial; thus, simple, robust, and powerful methods are needed. In this study, we have tested and validated an easy QuEChERS-based method for the extraction of 49 POPs (8 PBDEs, 12 OCPs, 11 PAHs, and 18 PCBs) in soils and their analysis by GC-MS/MS. The method was validated in terms of linearity, precision, and accuracy, and a matrix effect study was performed. The limits of detection (LOD) were established between 0.048 and 3.125 ng g−1 and the limits of quantification (LOQ) were between 0.5 and 20 ng g−1, except for naphthalene (50 ng g−1). Then, to verify the applicability of the validated method, we applied it to a series of 81 soil samples from farms dedicated to mixed vegetable cultivation and vineyards in the Canary Islands, both from two modes of production (organic vs. conventional) where residues of OCPs, PCBs, and PAHs were found.

Acosta-Dacal, Andrea; Rial-Berriel, Cristina; Díaz-Díaz, Ricardo; Bernal-Suárez, María del Mar; Zumbado, Manuel; Henríquez-Hernández, Luis Alberto; Alonso-González, Pablo ; Parga-Dans, Eva ; Luzardo, Octavio P.

Toxics 9(5), 101: 1-17 (2021)

Short and Modular Synthesis of Substituted 2-Aminopyrroles

We herein describe a simple and metal-free domino methodology to synthesize 2-aminopyrroles from alkynyl vinyl hydrazides. The domino reaction involves a novel propargylic 3,4-diaza-Cope rearrangement and a tandem isomerization/5-exo-dig N-cyclization reaction. By using this approach, a number of 2-aminopyrroles with diverse substituents have been prepared.

Diana-Rivero, Raquel; Halsvik, Beate; García-Tellado, Fernando; Tejedor, David

Organic Letters 23(10): 4078–4082 (2021)

Sesquiterpene Lactones from Artemisia absinthium. Biotransformation and Rearrangement of the Insect Antifeedant 3α-hydroxypelenolide

Three new compounds, the sesquiterpenes absilactone and hansonlactone and the acetophenone derivative ajenjol, have been isolated from a cultivated variety of Artemisia absinthium. In addition, the major lactone isolated, 3α-hydroxypelenolide, was biotransformed by the fungus Mucor plumbeus affording the corresponding 1β, 10α-epoxide. A cadinane derivative was formed by an acid rearrangement produced in the culture medium, but not by the enzymatic system of the fungus. Furthermore, 3α-hydroxypelenolide showed strong antifeedant effects against Leptinotarsa decemlineata and cytotoxic activity to Sf9 insect cells, while the biotransformed compounds showed antifeedant postingestive effects against Spodoptera littoralis.

Fraga, Braulio M.; Díaz, Carmen E.; Bailén, María; González-Coloma, Azucena

Plants 10(5), 891: 1-14 (2021)

Endogean beetles (Coleoptera) of Madagascar: deep soil sampling and illustrated overview

This study addresses the diversity of deep soil beetles on the old continental island of Madagascar. We highlight Coleoptera as the only order of insects repeatedly occupying the deep soil (=endogean) habitat. We describe and illustrate soil flotation technique used during our fieldwork in Madagascar in December 2019. We focus on the method’s high-output and mobile technicalities. We document 51 deep soil samples, each about 20 litres in volume, taken by us in varying Malagasy localities (Andringitra, Road RN7, Ankaratra, Andasibe) and habitats (primary forest versus grassland). We provide a preliminary illustrated overview of 1,430 deep soil beetles of Madagascar sampled by us. They include representatives of Carabidae (Anillini, Reicheiina), Leiodidae, Staphylinidae (Aleocharinae, Euaesthetinae, Osoriinae, Paederinae, Pselaphinae, Scydmaeninae), Scarabaeidae, Tenebrionidae and Curculionidae. We emphasize the significant disparity between collecting 1,430 adult endogean beetles and only about a dozen of their larvae, all belonging to Scydmaeninae.

Andújar, Carmelo; Grebennikov, Vasily V.

Zootaxa 4963(2): 317-334 (2021)

Digest: Parallel rather than unique local adaptation along a steep elevation gradient

To what extent do parallel and unique local adaptation occur along elevational gradients? In a reciprocal transplant experiment, Bachmann and Van Buskirk found stronger evidence for parallel adaptation to elevation than for unique local adaptation in Rana temporaria populations of the Swiss Alps. This finding has important implications for understanding gene flow effects on adaptive patterns and provides a useful investigative framework for the study of adaptation.

Arjona, Yurena; Morente-López, Javier

Evolution 75(4): 972-974 (2021)

Coumarins and other constituents from Deverra battandieri

Three undescribed coumarin derivatives, pituranthosin A–C (1-3), along with nineteen known compounds were isolated and identified from the chloroform and ethyl acetate fractions of the hydroalcoholic extract of Deverra battandieri (Apiaceae). The structures of the compounds were established by interpretation of their spectral data using 1D-NMR (1H, 13C, DEPT experiments), 2D-NMR (COSY, NOESY, HSQC and HMBC), HRESIMS, and by comparison with the literature data.

Esseid, Chahrazed; León, Francisco; Mosset, Paul; Benayache, Samir; Marchioni, Eric; Brouard, Ignacio; Benayache, Fadila

Phytochemistry Letters 42: 129-133 (2021)

Bioinformatic Analysis of Genome-Predicted Bat Cathelicidins

Bats are unique in their potential to serve as reservoir hosts for intracellular pathogens. Recently, the impact of COVID-19 has relegated bats from biomedical darkness to the frontline of public health as bats are the natural reservoir of many viruses, including SARS-Cov-2. Many bat genomes have been sequenced recently, and sequences coding for antimicrobial peptides are available in the public databases. Here we provide a structural analysis of genome-predicted bat cathelicidins as components of their innate immunity. A total of 32 unique protein sequences were retrieved from the NCBI database. Interestingly, some bat species contained more than one cathelicidin. We examined the conserved cysteines within the cathelin-like domain and the peptide portion of each sequence and revealed phylogenetic relationships and structural dissimilarities. The antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activity of peptides was examined using bioinformatic tools. The peptides were modeled and subjected to docking analysis with the region binding domain (RBD) region of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. The appearance of multiple forms of cathelicidins verifies the complex microbial challenges encountered by these species. Learning more about antiviral defenses of bats and how they drive virus evolution will help scientists to investigate the function of antimicrobial peptides in these species.

Pérez de Lastra, José Manuel; Asensio-Calavia, Patricia; González-Acosta, Sergio; Baca-González, Victoria; Morales-de la Nuez, Antonio

Molecules 26(6), 1181: 1-16 (2021)

The Essentials of Marine Biotechnology

Coastal countries have traditionally relied on the existing marine resources (e.g., fishing, food, transport, recreation, and tourism) as well as tried to support new economic endeavors (ocean energy, desalination for water supply, and seabed mining). Modern societies and lifestyle resulted in an increased demand for dietary diversity, better health and well-being, new biomedicines, natural cosmeceuticals, environmental conservation, and sustainable energy sources. These societal needs stimulated the interest of researchers on the diverse and underexplored marine environments as promising and sustainable sources of biomolecules and biomass, and they are addressed by the emerging field of marine (blue) biotechnology. Blue biotechnology provides opportunities for a wide range of initiatives of commercial interest for the pharmaceutical, biomedical, cosmetic, nutraceutical, food, feed, agricultural, and related industries. This article synthesizes the essence, opportunities, responsibilities, and challenges encountered in marine biotechnology and outlines the attainment and valorization of directly derived or bio-inspired products from marine organisms. First, the concept of bioeconomy is introduced. Then, the diversity of marine bioresources including an overview of the most prominent marine organisms and their potential for biotechnological uses are described. This is followed by introducing methodologies for exploration of these resources and the main use case scenarios in energy, food and feed, agronomy, bioremediation and climate change, cosmeceuticals, bio-inspired materials, healthcare, and well-being sectors. The key aspects in the fields of legislation and funding are provided, with the emphasis on the importance of communication and stakeholder engagement at all levels of biotechnology development. Finally, vital overarching concepts, such as the quadruple helix and Responsible Research and Innovation principle are highlighted as important to follow within the marine biotechnology field. The authors of this review are collaborating under the European Commission-funded Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action Ocean4Biotech – European transdisciplinary networking platform for marine biotechnology and focus the study on the European state of affairs.

Rotter, Ana; Barbier, Michéle; Bertoni, Franceso; Bones, Atle M.; Cancela, M. Leonor; Carlsson, Jens; Carvalho, Maria F.; Cegłowska, Marta; Chirivella-Martorell, Jerónimo; Conk Dalay, Meltem; Cueto, Mercedes; Dailianis, Thanos; Deniz, Irem; Díaz-Marrero, Ana R.; Drakulovic, Dragana; Dubnika, Arita; Edwards, Christine; Einarsson, Hjörleifur; Erdogan, Aysegül; Eroldogan, Orhan Tufan; Ezra, David; Fazi, Stefano; FitzGerald, Richard J.; Gargan, Laura M.; Gaudêncio, Susana P.; Gligora Udovic, Marija; Ivoševic DeNardis, Nadica; Jónsdóttir, Rósa; Kataržyte, Marija; Klun, Katja; Kotta, Jonne; Ktari, Leila; Ljubešic, Zrinka; Lukic Bilela, Lada; Mandalakis, Manolis; Massa-Gallucci, Alexia; Matijošyte, Inga; Mazur-Marzec, Hanna; Mehiri, Mohamed; Laurentius Nielsen, Søren; Novoveská, Lucie; Overlingé, Donata; Perale, Guiseppe; Ramasamy, Praveen; Rebours, Céline; Reinsch, Thorsten; Reyes, Fernando; Rinkevich, Baruch; Robbens, Johan; Röttinger, Eric; Rudovica, Vita; Sabotic, Jerica; Safarik, Ivo; Talve, Siret; Tasdemir, Deniz; Theodotou Schneider, Xenia; Thomas, Olivier P.; Torunska-Sitarz, Anna; Varese, Giovanna Cristina; Vasquez, Marlen I.

Marine Biotechnology 16, 629629: 1-53 (2021)