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A project funded by the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitization, CNCS/CCCDI–UEFISCDI, 2018-2022
PI: Oana Teodora Moldovan


  1. Disentangling the diversity patterns of the cave microbiome on different substrates and in different microclimatic conditions (e.g. different temperatures), and identifying the possible commonalities with surface microbiomes (e.g. soil, water).

  2. Decoding gut microbiome diversity in oligotrophic and chemoautotrophic cave representatives at different food levels.

  3. Parallelisms and convergences between cave invertebrates and their gut symbionts as an adaptation to low food.

  4. The resistome analysis by identifying new cave bacteria with natural antibiotic resistance and menaquinones (MK, vitamin K) synthesis, and experiments on their possible use for human health.


Coordinator: Romanian Institute of Science and Technology, Laboratory of Biospeleology (Emil Racovita Instiutute of Speleology) with experience in studies on cave mineralogy, paleontology, geomorphology, GIS applications, cave climatic monitoring, cave micro- and macro-fauna, and with original achievements on phylogeny, microbial researches on cave sediments and metacommunities

Oana Teodora Moldovan, project coordinator                                     Ruxandra Nastase-Bucur
Silviu Constantin                                         Aurel Persoiu
Alexandru Petculescu                             Traian Brad
Marius Kenesz                                           Razvan Arghir
Ionut Mirea                                                 Luchiana Faur              

Alexandra Hillebrand-Voiculescu               Cristian Sitar

P1: Babes-Bolyai University, Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering with experience in genetical analysis of the extremophiles and fundamental chemistry, andprevious collaborations on groundwater and also on show-caves microorganisms as indicators of human impact 

Horia Leonard Banciu, partner director                                                  Beatrice Kelemen
Andreea Baricz                                                                                         Alina Sesărman
Adorjan Cristea                                                                                         Diana Felicia Bogdan

Emese Gal                                                                                                 Iulia Chiciudean

Edith-Krista Szekeres

P2: INCDO-INOE 2000, Research Institute for Analytical Instrumentation, Cluj-Napoca Subsidiary with experience in chemical analysis and in using new techniques for the complex characterisation of water and substrate samples

Tiberiu Frențiu, partner director                                                              Erika-Andrea Levei
Marin Șenilă                                                                                              Simona Sorina Coștiug
Melinda Kovacs                                                                                        Maria-Alexandra Hoaghia
Marius Roman                                                                                           Dalma Kovacs

Claudiu Tănăselie

P3:  Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy,Departments of Medical Biochemistry and of Molecular Sciences with competence in the field of vitamin K dependent proteins- Gla proteins, bone metabolism, chronic metabolic and inflammatory diseases, microbiological and genomic studies

Alexandra Crăciun, partner director                                                      Mihaela Ionescu

Ciprian Silaghi                                                  


Moldovan OT, Kovac L, Halse S (2018) Preamble. In: Moldovan OT, Kovac L., Halse S. (eds) Cave Ecology. Springer International Publishing ISBN 978-3-319-98852-8

Howarth FG, Moldovan OT (2018) Where Cave Animals Live. In: Moldovan OT, Kovac L., Halse S. (eds) Cave Ecology. Springer International Publishing ISBN 978-3-319-98852-8

Howarth FG, Moldovan O.T. (2018) The Ecological Classification of Cave Animals and their Adaptations. In: Moldovan OT, Kovac L., Halse S. (eds) Cave Ecology. Springer International Publishing ISBN 978-3-319-98852-8

Moldovan OT (2018) Short Overview on the Aquatic Cave Fauna. In: Moldovan OT, Kovac L., Halse S. (eds) Cave Ecology. Springer International Publishing ISBN 978-3-319-98852-8


Moldovan OT, Brad T (2019) Comment on “Assessing preservation priorities of caves and karst areas using the frequency of endemic cave-dwelling species” by Nitzu et al. (2018). International Journal of Speleology 47: 43-52. IF 1.13

Reboul G, ​Moreira D, ​Bertolino P, ​Hillebrand‐Voiculescu AM, López‐García P (2019) Microbial eukaryotes in the suboxic chemosynthetic ecosystem of Movile Cave, Romania. Environmental Microbiology Reports 11(3): 464–473. IF 2.874

Mammola S, Cardoso P, Culver DC, Deharveng L, Ferreira RL, Fišer C, Galassi DMP, Griebler C, Halse S, Humphreys WF, Isaia M, Malard F, Martinez A, Moldovan OT, Niemiller ML, Pavlek M, Reboleira ASPS, Souza-Silva M, Teeling EC, Wynne JJ, Zagmajster M (2019) Scientists' Warning on the Conservation of Subterranean Ecosystems. BioScience 69: 641–650. IF 6.591

Mammola S, Cardoso P, Angyal D, Balázs G, Blick T, Brustel H, Carter J, Ćurčić S, Danflous S, Dányi L, Déjean S, Deltshev C, Elverici M, Fernández J, Gasparo F, Komnenov M, Komposch C, Kováč L, Kunt KB, Mock A, Moldovan OT, Naumova M, Pavlek M, Prieto CE, Ribera C, Rozwałka R, Růžička V, Vargovitsh RS, Zaenker S, Isaia M (2019) Local- versus broad-scale environmental drivers of continental β-diversity patterns in subterranean spider communities across Europe. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 286: IF 4.304

Bercea S, Năstase-Bucur R, Moldovan OT, Kenesz M, Constantin S (2019) Yearly microbial cycle of human exposed surfaces in show caves. Subterranean Biology 31: 1-14. BDI

Robu M, Wynn J, Puşcaş CM, Meleg IN, Martin JE, Constantin S (2019) Palaeoecology and palaeoclimatic context of Romanian Carpathian MIS 3 cave bears using stable isotopes (δ13C and δ18O). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 534 IF 2.833

Borko Š, Collette M, Brad T, Zakšek V, Flot J-F, Vaxevanopoulos M, Sarbu SM, Fišer C. (2019) Amphipods in a Greek cave with sulphidic and non-sulphidic water: phylogenetically clustered and ecologically divergent. Systematics and Biodiversity 17:6, 558-572. IF 1.953

Ionescu M (2019) Clinical Implication of Carbapenem Resistance Determinants of Environmental Microorganisms. In: Advances in Medicine and Biology. Volume 141, Leon V. Berhardt (Editor), Nova Science Publisher.

Silaghi CN, Ilyés T, Filip VP, Farcaș M, van Ballegooijen AJ, Crăciun AM (2019) Vitamin K Dependent Proteins in Kidney Disease. Int J Mol Sci. 29;20(7). IF 4.183

Ionescu M (2019) Adenylate Kinase: A Ubiquitous Enzyme Correlated with Medical Conditions. Protein Journal, 38: 120-133. IF 1.029​

Damian L, Zmarandache CD, Vele P, Albu A, Belizna C, Crăciun A (2020) Osteogenesis imperfecta and rheumatoid arthritis: is there a link? Archives of Osteoporosis, 15: 40. IF 2.387

Moldovan OT, Iepure S, Brad T, Kenesz M, Mirea IC, Năstase-Bucur R (2020) Database of Romanian cave invertebrates with a Red List of cave species and a list of hotspot/coldspot caves. Biodiversity Data Journal 8: e53571. IF 1.331

Moldovan OT,  Bercea S, Năstase-Bucur R, Constantin S, Kenesz M, Mirea IC, Petculescu A, Robu M, Arghir RA. (2020) Management of water bodies in show caves – A microbial approach. Tourism Management, 78, 104037 IF 7.432

Baca M, Popović D, Baca K, Lemanik A, Doan K, Horáček I, López-García JM, Bañuls-Cardona S, Pazonyi P, Desclaux E, Crégut-Bonnoure E, Berto C, Mauch Lenardić J, Miękina B, Murelaga X, Cuenca-Bescós G, Krajcarz M, Marković Z, Petculescu A, Wilczyński J, Vlasta Knul M, Stewart JR, Nadachowski A (2020) Diverse responses of common vole (Microtus arvalis) populations to Late Glacial and Early Holocene climate changes – Evidence from ancient DNA. Quaternary Science Reviews, 233, 106239 IF 4.641

Vasile S, Kovalchuk O, Petculescu A, Venczel M (2020) Early Pleistocene freshwater fishes of Copăceni (Dacian Basin, southern Romania). Palaeontologia Electronica, 23(1):a02. IF 1.410

Moldovan, OT, Iepure S, Brad T, Kenesz M, Mirea IC, Năstase-Bucur R (2020) Database of Romanian cave invertebrates with a Red List of cave species and a list of hotspot/coldspot caves, v4, Dryad, Dataset,

Măntoiu, D.Ş., Kravchenko, K., Lehnert, L.S.  Vlaschenko A., Moldovan O.T., Mirea I.C., Stanciu R.C., Zaharia R., Popescu-Mirceni R., Nistorescu M.C., Voigt C.C. (2020) Wildlife and infrastructure: impact of wind turbines on bats in the Black Sea coast region. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 66, 44. IF 1.381

Mirea I-C, Robu M, Petculescu A, Kenesz M, Faur L, Arghir R, Tecsa V, Timar-Gabor A, Roban RD, Panaiotu CG, Sharifi A, Pourmand A, Codrea VA, Constantin S (2020) Last deglaciation flooding events in the Southern Carpathians as revealed by the study of cave deposits from Muierilor Cave, Romania. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, IF 2.833

Silaghi CN, Ilyés T, van Ballegooijen AJ, Crăciun AM. Calciprotein Particles and Serum Calcification Propensity: Hallmarks of Vascular Calcifications in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease. J Clin Med. 2020 Apr 29;9(5):1287. doi: 10.3390/jcm9051287. IF= 3.303

Gheorghe SR, Tătăranu LG, Dricu A, Silaghi CN, Vermeer C, Crăciun AM. (2020) Matrix gla protein in meningiomas: an immunohistochemical study. Revista de Chimie 71(3): 425-432. IF=1.755

Ionescu MI. Molecular docking investigation of the amantadine binding to the enzymes upregulated or downregulated in Parkinson’s disease ( 2020) ADMET and DMPK 8, 149-175. 

Andrei, A.-Ș. Bulzu. P.-A., Banciu, H.L. (2020) Blossoms of rot: microbial diversity of saline sapropels. In: Extremophiles as Astrobiological Models. J. Seckbach and H. Stan-Lotter  (eds), Series Astrobiology Perspectives on Life of the Universe (Series editors R. Gordon and J. Seckbach), Wiley-Scivener, Beverly, MA, USA, ISBN 978-1119591689, pp.45-82 ​

Constantin S, Mirea IC, Petculescu A, Arghir RA, Măntoiu DȘ, Kenesz M, Robu M, Moldovan OT. Monitoring Human Impact in Show Caves. A Study of Four Romanian Caves. Sustainability. 2021; 13(4):1619. IF 3.251

Brad T, Iepure S, Sarbu SM. The Chemoautotrophically Based Movile Cave Groundwater Ecosystem, a Hotspot of Subterranean Biodiversity. Diversity 2021; 13(3):128. IF 1.402.

Hajdinjak M, Mafessoni F, Skov L, Vernot B, Hübner A, Fu Q, Essel E, Nagel S, Nickel B, Richter J, Moldovan OT, Constantin S, Endarova E, Zahariev N, Spasov R, Welker F, Smith GM, Sinet-Mathiot V, Paskulin L, Fewlass H, Talamo S, Rezek Z, Sirakova S, Sirakov N, McPherron SP, Tsanova T, Hublin J-J, Peter BM, Meyer M, Skoglund P, Kelso J, Pääbo S. (2021)​ Initial Upper Palaeolithic humans in Europe had recent Neanderthal ancestry. Nature 592, 253–257. IF 42.779

Feher R, Voiculescu M, Chiroiu P, Perșoiu A (2021) The stable isotope composition of hoarfrost, Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, DOI: 10.1080/10256016.2021.1917567IF 1.652

Angyus SB, Levei E, Petreus D, Etz R, Covaci E, Moldovan OT, Ponta M, Darvasi E, Frentiu T. Simultaneous Determination of As, Bi, Sb, Se, Te, Hg, Pb and Sn by Small-Sized Electrothermal Vaporization Capacitively Coupled Plasma Microtorch Optical Emission Spectrometry Using Direct Liquid Microsampling. Molecules. 2021; 26(9):2642. IF 3.267

Gînguță A, Rusu I, Mircea C, Ioniță A, Banciu HL, Kelemen B. Mitochondrial DNA Profiles of Individuals from a 12th Century Necropolis in Feldioara (Transylvania). Genes. 2021; 12(3):436. IF 3.759

Perşoiu, A., Buzjak, N., Onaca, A., Pennos, C., Sotiriadis, Y., Ionita, M., Zachariadis, S., Styllas, M., Kosutnik, J., Hegyi, A., and Butorac, V.: Record summer rains in 2019 led to massive loss of surface and cave ice in SE Europe, The Cryosphere, 15, 2383–2399,, 2021. IF 4.713

Cristea, A., Pustan, M., Bîrleanu, C., Dudescu, C., Floare CG, Tripon A-M, Banciu HL.​ Mechanical Evaluation of Solvent Casted Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) Films Derived from the Storage Polyesters Produced by Halomonas elongata DSM 2581T. J Polym Environ (2021). IF 2.572

Sitar C, Barbu-Tudoran L, Moldovan OT. 2021. Morphological and Micromorphological Description of the Larvae of Two Endemic Species of Duvalius (Coleoptera, Carabidae, Trechini). Biology 10, no. 7: 627. IF 5.079.

Török AI, Moldovan A, Levei EA, Cadar O, Tănăselia C, Moldovan OT. Assessment of Lithium, Macro- and Microelements in Water, Soil and Plant Samples from Karst Areas in Romania. Materials. 2021; 14(14):4002. IF 3.623

Baricz, A., Levei, E.A., Șenilă, M., Cîntă Pînzaru, S., Aluaş, M., Vulpoi, A., Filip, C., Tripon, C., Dădârlat, D., Buda, D.M., Dulf, F.V., Pintea, A., Cristea, A., Muntean, V., Keresztes, Z.G., Alexe, A., Banciu, H.L. (2021). Comprehensive mineralogical and physicochemical characterization of recent sapropels from Romanian saline lakes for potential use in pelotherapy. Sci Rep 11, 18633. IF 4.379

Weber D, Brad T, Stoch F, Flot J-F (2021) Rediscovery and redescription of Niphargus enslini Karaman, 1932 (Amphipoda, Niphargidae) in southern Germany. Subterranean Biology 40: 65-89. IF 1.690

Torok AI, Levei EA, Constantin S, Moldovan OT, Senila M, Cadar O, Casoni D, Angyus SB, Tanaselia C, Covaci E, Frentiu T. Application of Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometric Techniques and Multivariate Statistical Analysis in the Hydrogeochemical Profiling of Caves—Case Study Cloșani, Romania. Molecules. 2021; 26(22):6788. IF 4.411

Silaghi CN, Farcas M, Craciun AM. (2021) Sirtuin 3 (SIRT3) Pathways in Age-Related Cardiovascular and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Biomedicines 9(11):1574 IF= 6.081

Crintea A, Dutu AG, Samasca G, Florian A, Lupan I, Craciun AM. (2021) The Nanosystems Involved in Treating Lung Cancer. Life 11(7):682 IF= 3.817

Gheorghe SR, Marian C, Tataranu L, Dricu A, Vermeer C, Silaghi CN, Craciun AM. (2021) The Expression of miR-155-5p and Local Matrix Gla Protein in Meningiomas. Revista Romana de Medicina de Laborator 29(3):299-306. IF= 1.027

Iacob, G.M.; Craioveanu, C.; Hula, V.; Aurelian, V.M.; Beldean, M.; Sitar, C. Improving the Knowledge on Distribution, Food Preferences and DNA Barcoding of Natura 2000 Protected Species Paracossulus thrips (Lepidoptera, Cossidae) in Romania. Insects 2021, 12, 1087. IF 2.679

Gheorghe, SR;  Vermeer, C; Olteanu, G;  Silaghi, CN; Crăciun, AM (2021) The  Active Isoforms of MGP Are  Expressed in Healthy and Varicose Veins without Calcification. J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10, 5896. IF 4.242

Terhune CA, Gaudin T, Curran S, Petculescu A (2021) The youngest pangolin (Mammalia, Pholidota) from Europe, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2021.1990075 IF 1.931

Iepure S, Bădăluţă C-A, Moldovan OT (2021) An annotated checklist of groundwater Cyclopoida and Harpacticoida (Crustacea, Copepoda) from Romania with notes on their distribution and ecology. Subterranean Biology 41: 87-108. IF 1.69

Ionescu MI, Neagoe DȘ, Crăciun AM, Moldovan OT. The Gram-Negative Bacilli Isolated from Caves—Sphingomonas paucimobilis and Hafnia alvei and a Review of Their Involvement in Human Infections. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(4):2324. IF 3.390

Haliuc A., Bonk A., Longman J., Hutchinson S.M., Zak M., Veres D., 2022. Challenges in interpreting geochemical data: an appraisal of analytical techniques applied to a karstic lake sediment record. Water, 14 (5), 806. IF 3.530

Mammola S, Meierhofer MB,  Borges PAV, ..., Moldovan OT, ..., Cardoso P. ​Towards evidence-based conservation of subterranean ecosystems. Biological Reviews, 2022 IF 12.820

Sarbu, S.; Brad, T.; Chauveau, C.; Flot, J.; Galdenzi, S.; Galassi, D.; Gentile, G.; Iepure, S.; Jones, D.; Martin, P.; Montanari, A.; Stoch, F. Biodiversity in the Sulfidic Sections of the Frasassi Caves, Italy, in Proceedings of the 2nd International Electronic Conference on Diversity (IECD 2022)—New Insights into the Biodiversity of Plants, Animals and Microbes, 15–31 March 2022, MDPI: Basel, Switzerland, doi:10.3390/IECD2022-12384

Moldovan OT, Miko L, Panaiotu C, Roban RD, Gąsiorowski M, Hercman H, Orza R, Kenesz M, Mirea IC, Petculescu A, Robu M, Constantin S. Small Human Population Drastic Impact, as Inferred From Multi-Proxies of a Temporary Carpathian Lake. Frontiers in Earth Science 10, 2022, DOI=10.3389/feart.2022.856685 IF 3.661

Brad T, Bizic M, Ionescu D, Chiriac CM, Kenesz M, Roba C, Ionescu A, Fekete A, Mirea IC, Moldovan OT. Potential for Natural Attenuation of Domestic and Agricultural Pollution in Karst Groundwater Environments. Water. 2022; 14(10):1597. IF 3.530

Haidău C, Năstase-Bucur R, Bulzu P, Levei E, Cadar O, Mirea IC, Faur L, Fruth V, Atkinson I, Constantin S, Moldovan OT. A 16S rRNA Gene-Based Metabarcoding of Phosphate-Rich Deposits in Muierilor Cave, South-Western Carpathians. Frontiers in Microbiology 13, 2022, 10.3389/fmicb.2022.877481 IF 6.064

Chiciudean I, Russo G, Bogdan DF, Levei EA, Faur L, Hillebrand-Voiculescu A, Moldovan OT, Banciu HL. Competition-cooperation in the chemoautotrophic ecosystem of Movile Cave – first metagenomic approach on sediments

bioRxiv 2022; doi:

Năstase-Bucur R, Allegrucci G, Ketmaier V, Mirea IC, Moldovan OT (2022) Comparative phylogeography of two troglobitic Coleoptera (Leiodidae, Leptodirini) species from Romania based on mitochondrial DNA. Subterranean Biology 42: 61-78. IF 1.021

Chiciudean I, Russo G, Bogdan DF, Levei EA, Faur L, Hillebrand-Voiculescu A, Moldovan OT, Banciu HL. Competition-cooperation in the chemoautotrophic ecosystem of Movile Cave: first metagenomic approach on sediments.Environmental Microbiome 17, 44 (2022). IF 6.630

Crintea A, Dutu AG, Constantin AM, Fekete Z, Samasca G, Lupan I, Florian IA, Silaghi CN, Crăciun AM.The First Evaluation of Serum Levels of MGP, Gas6 and EGFR after First Dose of Chemotherapy in Lung Cancer. Biology. 2022;11(1):82. IF 5.168

Crintea A, Drugan C, Constantin AM, Lupan I, Fekete Z, Silaghi CN, Crăciun AM. Assessment of Specific Tumoral Markers, Inflammatory Status, and Vitamin D Metabolism before and After the First Chemotherapy  Cycle in Patients with Lung Cancer. Biology 2022; 11(7): 1033. IF 5.168

Damian OL, Miclea D, Vulturar R, Crăciun A. Osteogenesis imperfecta and rheumatoid arthritis: connective issues. Osteoporosis International 2022; IF 3.445

Măntoiu DŞ, Mirea IC, Şandric IC, Cîşlariu AG, Gherghel I, Constantin S, Moldovan OT (2022) Bat dynamics modelling as a tool for conservation management in subterranean environments. PLoS ONE 17(10): e0275984. IF 3.24

Allenby A, Cunningham MR, Hillebrand-Voiculescu A, Comte J-C, Doherty R and Kumaresan D (2022) Occurrence of methane-oxidizing bacteria and methanogenic archaea in earth’s cave systems—A metagenomic analysis. Front. Ecol. Evol. 10:909865. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2022.909865​

Bogdan DF, Baricz AI, Chiciudean I, Bulzu P-A, Cristea A, Năstase-Bucur R, Levei EA, Cadar O, Sitar C, Banciu H, Moldovan OT(2023) Diversity, distribution and organic substrates preferences of microbial communities of a low anthropic activity cave in North-Western Romania. Front. Microbiol. 14:962452.

Croitor R, Robinson C, Curran S, Terhune C, Drăgușin V, Pobiner B, Popescu A & Petculescu A (2023) Early pleistocene ruminants (Artiodactyla, Mammalia) from the Dacian Basin (South Romania) before and after the Pachycrocuta event: implications for hominin dispersals in Western Eurasia, Historical Biology, DOI: 10.1080/08912963.2023.2167602

Iepure, S., Wysocka, A., Sarbu, S.M. et al. A new extremophile ostracod crustacean from the Movile Cave sulfidic chemoautotrophic ecosystem in Romania. Sci Rep 13, 6112 (2023).

Haidău C, Bulzu PA, Mirea IC, Bucur R, Moldovan OT (2023): Potential Environmental Drivers of Fossil Bones Degradation—A Metabarcoding Approach in Two Carpathian Caves, Geomicrobiology Journal, DOI: 10.1080/01490451.2023.2227625

Nesterovschi I, Marica I, Levei EA, Angyus SB, Kenesz M, Moldovan OT, Cîntă Pînzaru S. 2023. Subterranean transport of microplastics as evidenced in karst springs and their characterization using Raman spectroscopy. Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, 122811.

Theodorescu, M., Bucur, R., Bulzu, PA., Faur L., Levei EA., Mirea IC, Cadar O., Ferreira R, Souza-Silva M., Moldovan OT. Environmental Drivers of the Moonmilk Microbiome Diversity in Some Temperate and Tropical Caves. Microb Ecol (2023).

Aerts JW, Sarbu SM, Brad T, Ehrenfreund P, Westerhoff HV. Microbial Ecosystems in Movile Cave: An Environment of Extreme Life. Life. 2023; 13(11):2120.

Saclier, N.,  Duchemin, L.,  Konecny-Dupré, L.,  Grison, P.,  Eme, D.,  Martin, C.,  Callou, C.,  Lefébure, T., François, C.,  Issartel, C.,  Lewis, J. J.,  Stoch, F.,  Sket, B.,  Gottstein, S.,  Delić, T.,  Zagmajster, M.,  Grabowski, M., Weber, D.,  Reboleira, A. S. P. S. …  Moldovan, O.T., ... Malard, F. (2023).  A collaborative backbone resource for comparative studies of subterranean evolution: The World Asellidae database. Molecular Ecology Resources,  00,  1–19.

Moldovan, O.T., Carrell, A.A., Bulzu, PA. et al. The gut microbiome mediates adaptation to scarce food in Coleoptera. Environmental Microbiome 18, 80 (2023).


Moldovan O.T. Darkfood -prezentarea proiectului, obiective și provocări. Kick-off meeting – DARKFOOD, 2-4.12.2018, Bazna, România.

Hillebrand-Voiculescu A. Peștera Movile. Kick-off meeting – DARKFOOD, 2-4.12.2018, Bazna, România.

Perșoiu A. Izotopi stabili, nectar și ambrozie în mediul subteran. Kick-off meeting – DARKFOOD, 2-4.12.2018, Bazna, România.

Levei E. Capacitatea analitică a laboratoarelor INCDO INOE filiala ICIA. Kick-off meeting – DARKFOOD, 2-4.12.2018, Bazna, România.

Kovacs M. Laboratorul de biodiversitate şi schimbări climatice - potenţial şi infrastructură. Kick-off meeting – DARKFOOD, 2-4.12.2018, Bazna, România.

Kovacs D. Evaluarea impactului schimbărilor climatice asupra microbiodiversităţii solului, prin tehnici optospectrale şi complementare. Kick-off meeting – DARKFOOD, 2-4.12.2018, Bazna, România.

Remizovschi A., Bulzu P.-A., Banciu H.L. Microbiomul cavernelor: Strategii moderne si particularitati. Kick-off meeting – DARKFOOD, 2-4.12.2018, Bazna, România.

Bulzu, P.-A., Banciu, H.L. Metagenomica sedimentelor acvatice: studiu de caz. Kick-off meeting – DARKFOOD, 2-4.12.2018, Bazna, România. 

Banciu H.L., Bulzu, P.-A., Remizovschi, A., Sesărman, A., Baricz A., Kelemen B.S. Grupul de Biologie Moleculară Ambientală din cadrul Centrului de Biologie Moleculară al I.C.I.-B.N.S. (Universitatea "Babeș-Bolyai", Cluj-Napoca) : Scop și realizări științifice. Kick-off meeting – DARKFOOD, 2-4.12.2018, Bazna, România.

Faur L, Mirea IC, Robu M, Petculescu A, Kenesz M, Arghir R, Roban R, Panaiotu C, Constantin S (2019) Genesis of sediments in Muierilor Cave, Southern Carpathians, Romania; facies identification and hydrodynamics.  27th International Karstological School "Classical karst". 17-21.06.2019, Postojna, Slovenia

Perșoiu A., Brad T., Ionescu A., Chiriac C., Coman C., Fekete A., Natural attenuation of pollution in karst – a geochemical, chemical and microbial investigation in the Carpathian Mts., Romania, 27th International Karstological School, Postojna, Slovenia, June 17-22, 2019.

Perșoiu, A., Imprint of large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns on the stable isotope composition of precipitation in Eastern Europe, First Research Coordination Meeting on
Isotope Variability of Rain for Assessing Climate Change Impacts, Vienna, Austria, November 19-22, 2019.


1. In an unprecedented effort in caves 472 samples of sediments, water, gut invertebrate, mineralizations etc were collected from Romanian and Brazilian caves. Next generation sequencing and bioinformatic analysis were provided data on the cave different microbiomes (Bacteria and Archaea).

2. The mineralogical and chemical composition of sediments in caves is

complex and variable. Ca was the central element in the sediments, followed by K, Mg, P, Na, Al, and S. Movile Cave is a chemoautotrophic system driven by in-house sulphur and methane oxidation and CO2 fixation as primary production processes. These elements explain its separation from the other oligotrophic caves. Muierilor Cave also separated and is known for the presence of hydroxyapatite, rich in phosphates. Ursilor Cave sediments are characterized by high concentrations and variability of Ca followed by Si, Al, Mg, and Fe. Differences between samples from Movile and the other caves are even more evident in the water samples.

3. The sediments microbiome is dominated by Lysobacter, known to produce a variety of extracellular enzymes and antimicrobial compounds, an unknown genus, wb1-P19 (a sulfur- or nitrite-oxidizing autotrophic bacteria), and Pseudomonas, a generalist. More than 50% of the genera are unknown to science. Two unknown phyla were also obtained, one with 5% in relative abundance. Flavobacterium dominated the cave water microbiome, followed by Pseudomonas, and Polaromonas. Flavobacterium and Polaromonas are chemoorganotrophs and aerobes. The unknown genera were ~17% in the water samples. Moonmilk, phosphate-rich crusts and other minerals were analyzed for their microbiome in relation to the substrate. Fossil bones, at different degrees of degradation were also considered.

4. A total of 106 medium- to high-quality Metagenome-Assembled Genomes were

recovered from the sediment metagenomes of Movile Cave, near the lake and in the oligotrophic passages. In the lower gallery, near the lake, Chloroflexota was abundant

in two stations, while Proteobacteria (class Gammaproteobacteria) dominated the third station. In the upper, dry gallery, Acidobacteriota was the most abundant phylum for two stations.

5. Nineteen cave invertebrate taxa, each with several individuals, were studied for the gut microbiome. At a first glance, there is a significant separation between the taxa from Brazil and Romania. Within the Romanian clade, the separation between cave aquatics (stygobionts) and cave terrestrial (troglobionts) is also strongly supported. Many other individuals for extracted for the entire body microbiome. The results show that the gut microbiome in cave beetles was involved in adaptation to life in caves and to scarce food, and there are no similarities with the core bacteria in the sediments. On the contrary, the gut microbiome of amphipods show similarities with the water microbiome and less with the silt in the pools.

6. The gut microbiome was relatively conservative independent of the phyletic line and microclimatic conditions in cave beetles. However, the least troglomorphic species, showed the highest diversity of the microbiome. This is an indication of the exploitation of different subterranean micro-niches, with different degrees of influence from the soil microbiome above. For the cave amphipods some bacteria are common in tropical and temperate caves and some of the core bacteria do not reflect the habitat microbiome.

7. In Movile Cave, two antimicrobial resistance (AR) genes (ole(C), oqxB) encoding resistance to antibiotics (i.e. oleandomycin, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, trimethoprim) and disinfectants were identified in MAGs affiliated with the class Actinomycetia and Gammaproteobacteria. Other samples were collected from caves to performed the phenotypic characterization and establish the resistance phenotype of the isolated strains. The cave environment is unique and the contaminations with pollutants can be minimal in its deepest parts. We believe that a thorough analysis of the intrinsic resistance of bacterial strains inhabiting unpolluted environments where there is no antibiotic selection pressure will advance the understanding of nosocomial infections.

8. The ratio between Firmicutes and Bacteroides, also dominant in most of the cave samples, are of relevance in the diagnostic and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. The colon is the host for bacteria that can have as metabolic products short chain fatty acids (SCFA) and menaquinones (MK) that released in the vascular system may

influence the physiological pathways at many levels.

DARKFOOD Project: News
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