Open Access Research article

Phenols content and 2-D electrophoresis protein pattern: a promising tool to monitor Posidonia meadows health state

Luciana Migliore1*, Alice Rotini1, Davide Randazzo23, Nadia N Albanese2 and Agata Giallongo3

Author Affiliations

1 Università "Tor Vergata", Dipt. Biologia, Via della Ricerca Scientifica, I-00133 Roma, Italy

2 Università di Palermo, Dipt. Oncologia Sperimentale e Applicazioni Cliniche, 90146 Palermo, Italy

3 Istituto di Biomedicina e Immunologia Molecolare, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, 90146 Palermo, Italy

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BMC Ecology 2007, 7:6  doi:10.1186/1472-6785-7-6

Published: 30 July 2007



The endemic seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile colonizes soft bottoms producing highly productive meadows that play a crucial role in coastal ecosystems dynamics. Human activities and natural events are responsible for a widespread meadows regression; to date the identification of "diagnostic" tools to monitor conservation status is a critical issue. In this study the feasibility of a novel tool to evaluate ecological impacts on Posidonia meadows has been tested. Quantification of a putative stress indicator, i.e. phenols content, has been coupled to 2-D electrophoretic protein analysis of rhizome samples.


The overall expression pattern from Posidonia rhizome was determined using a preliminary proteomic approach, 437 protein spots were characterized by pI and molecular weight. We found that protein expression differs in samples belonging to sites with high or low phenols: 22 unique protein spots are peculiar of "low phenols" and 27 other spots characterize "high phenols" samples.


Posidonia showed phenols variations within the meadow, that probably reflect the heterogeneity of environmental pressures. In addition, comparison of the 2-D electrophoresis patterns allowed to highlight qualitative protein expression differences in response to these pressures. These differences may account for changes in metabolic/physiological pathways as adaptation to stress. A combined approach, based on phenols content determination and 2-D electrophoresis protein pattern, seems a promising tool to monitor Posidonia meadows health state.