New microorganisms useful for the production of antibiotics found in La Cueva del Tesoro

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According to the councillor Marta Marín , the study concerning the development, removal and cleaning of phototrophic organisms in 'La Cueva del Tesoro', Rincón de la Victoria, carried out by members of the 'Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas' (CSIC), has exposed the discovery of microorganisms producing compound bioactives (those that have an effect on living tissues) that are of medical interest due to their use in the production of antibiotics. The final report produced by the institute of 'Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología' in Sevilla, linked to the CISC, has suggested declaring 'La Cueva del Tesoro' a reservoir for biological diversity and to leave some places within the cave in their original biological state.

As the councillor has explained, the experts claim that "although cave paintings exist, the conservation of the biodiversity can be reconciled with that of the paintings, establishing zones of biodiversity away from the cave paintings and at the same time maintaining a strict vigilance on the environmental conditions within the cave, controlling the possible dispersion of microorganisms". Marín has assured that "the population of bacterias and archaeas (single-celled microorganisms) associated with the phototrophic community in the cave is abundant and varied. They are composed of microorganisms that could be new to science" as is deduced from the study.

Además, el estudio de la colonización fototrófica desarrollado en La Cueva del Tesoro ha proporcionado datos sobre su naturaleza, ecología y métodos de eliminación y limpieza. "Se han encontrado comunidades fototróficas compuestas por cianobacterias, algas, diatomeas y musgos", ha señalado la concejala. Todos estos hallazgos se han producido en la fase de estudio que los científicos del CSIC están llevando a cabo sobre el mal verde que sufre la Cueva. Así, se plantean recomendaciones respecto a la iluminación, así como llevar a cabo una limpieza con peróxido de hidrógeno muy efectiva, según las pruebas realizadas. La totalidad de los puntos de iluminación de la cavidad con manchas verdes son accesibles mediante escaleras o andamios, lo que puede permitir su limpieza con facilidad.

As well as this, the study of the phototrophic colonisation developed in La Cueva del Tesoro has supplied information about its nature, ecology and methods of removal and cleaning. "Phototrophic communities composed of cyanobacteria, algae, diatoms and mosses have been found" says the councillor. All of these discoveries have been made during the phase of study, concerning the bad foliage in the cave, which the scientists of CSIC are carrying out. Thus, depending on completed tests, recommendations will be considered concerning the lighting so as to ensure an effective clean-up using hydrogen peroxide. All of the cave's lighting points with foliage marks are accessible by stairways or scaffolding making the cleaning much easier to complete.

The mayor of Rincón de la Victoria, Francisco Salado, has emphasised the importance of these discoveries and has insisted the importance of La Cueva del Tesoro, underlining that "as well as being one of our main tourist attractions, it is also an important source of scientific investigation and a place of incalculable value for everyone in Rincon. We have a unique marine cave within Europe therefore its conservation, study and maintenance is essential, above all facing the increase in annual visitors, which is currently around 29,000." As well as this, the councillor has noted that the collaboration of administrations with other entities "is essential in order to improve and maintain our legacy, history and to bring these closer to the citizens".


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