The extraordinary environmental nature of the territory and of the Euganean thermal product under the microscope of the Study Center

The presentation of the study on the biodiversity of thermal springs



The work on the DNA analysis of samples of cyanobacteria conducted this summer by the Pietro d’Abano Thermal Studies Center that AbanoRitz constantly supports in the research on thermal medicine, was presented at the International Convention on extremophile organisms that was held in Ischia by the 17 to 20 September. The cyanobacteria have been taken from some natural thermal springs of the territory to have the picture of natural biodiversity in relation to that of the mud tanks.

An important research

The great aspiration and mission is to bring the identification of our rich spa area to the Italian equivalent of Yellowstone, the national park that is located in the United States, the oldest in the world. In this context, it would also contribute to the reinvigoration of the candidature of the Euganean Hills to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, even if this still remains a complex subject that requires awareness, passion and a great deal of work.

Extremophiles 2018 bears the name of these organisms that live in prohibitive environmental conditions. Some of these beings resist high pressures and temperatures and in total absence of light, others even in the vacuum of space on the outer surface of the ISS space station.
Among these extraordinary organisms there are also cyanobacteria, which thrive in the natural thermal springs and in our mud tanks. As already mentioned, for about a year one of the research projects of the Study Center, in collaboration with the University of Padua, has set itself the goal of understanding its origin and diffusion in the territory, studying in addition to the sludge, the several sources still present in the Municipalities of the Hills.

The preliminary data presented at the Ischia congress were welcomed with interest and many compliments by the international scientific community. At the moment the results are not yet disclosed but pending publication, the Scientific Director of the Pietro D’Abano Thermal Studies Center Fabrizio Caldara gave us an abstract of the work done.



Dr. Barbara Gris at Extremophiles 2018 – in charge of sampling in tanks and silos

The existence of natural thermal springs in the Euganean District (Italy) is well known since ancient times, making this area one of the historical thermal sites in Europe with Baia (Ischia, Italy) and Thermophiles (Greece) natural springs. These natural thermal environments are characterized by a temperature ranging from 35 to 45°C, and by the presence of complex and peculiar communities of living organisms. Among them, one of the most important phylum is represented by cyanobacteria, a group of photosynthetic bacteria able to live in almost all terrestrial and water environments, even extreme, and produce a wide range of active molecules.
In the Euganean District, archaeological findings testify that the human use of thermal resources for therapeutic purposes, as waters and natural clays, dates back to VII-VI Centuries b.C, reaching a great importance during Roman Empire. These ancient practices have been handed down over the centuries up to our days, when Euganean district is the biggest and one of the most famous thermal stations in Europe. The biodiversity of cyanobacteria growing on therapeutic muds is high, but the one characterizing the natural thermal springs located in this region is even higher and represents a big resource in perspective of an exploitation of the potentialities of these organisms for therapeutic purposes. The biodiversity of natural springs of Euganean District has been studied using next generation sequencing (NGS) analysis carried out on environmental samples collected at different times.
Gris B., Sforza E., Bertucco A., Morosinotto M., La Rocca N. (2017). Journal of Applied Phycology, 9, 1781-1790.
Bruno A., Rossi C., Marcolongo G., Di Lena A., Venzo A., Berrie CP., Corda D. (2005). European Journal of Pharmacology, 524, 159-168.
1 Department of Biology, University of Padova, Via Ugo Bassi 58b 35121, Padova (Italy)
2 Pietro D’Abano Thermal Research Center, Largo Marconi 8, 35031, Abano Terme (Italy)
3 Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Miljøvej 2800 Kgs., Lyngby (Denmark)
4 Botanical Garden, University of Padova, Via Orto Botanico, 15, 35123, Padova (Italy)
Barbara Gris 1,4, Raffaella Zampieri 1, Fabrizio Caldara 2, Laura Treu 3, Nicoletta La Rocca 1,4

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