A new weapon comes from the turmeric plant to save coral reefs from the phenomenon of bleaching, due to the rise in sea and ocean temperatures: An entirely Italian study, conducted by the Italian Institute of Technology and the University of Milano-Bicocca, in cooperation with the Genoa Aquarium, showed the effectiveness of curcumin, an antioxidant substance extracted from the plant, which enables the protection of the surrounding coral reefs without harming them. research, published In the journal ACS Applied Materials, he also saw the development of a biodegradable biomaterial, specifically developed to deliver curcumin.
Coral bleaching is a phenomenon that, in extreme cases, leads to the death of these organisms, with devastating consequences for coral reefs, ecosystems essential to the global economy, coastal protection from natural disasters and marine biodiversity. To date, there are no effective interventions to prevent bleaching without seriously endangering the integrity of these habitats, but all of this is about to change, thanks to researchers led by Marco Contardi, of Iit and Milano-Bicocca.
During tests at the Genoa Aquarium, they simulated the conditions of high temperature in tropical seas, showing that corals treated with curcumin do not show signs of bleaching, which instead affects all other species. “This technology is the subject of a pending patent application, and the next steps will focus on its application in nature and at large scale,” comments Contardi. “The use of new biodegradable and biocompatible materials capable of releasing natural substances capable of reducing coral bleaching is an absolute novelty,” adds Simone Montano Della Bicocca, co-author of the study: “I strongly believe that this innovative approach will represent a major shift in the development of strategies to restore marine ecosystems.”
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