WAT-DIMON- Novel DNA-based test for the identification of benthic diatoms of European Freshwater Waterbodies (EUROSTARS/0519/0005).

I.A.CO Environmental & Water Consultants Ltd is participating in the project E-Wat-Dimon Novel DNA-based test for the identification of benthic diatoms of European Freshwater Waterbodies (EUROSTARS/0519/0005). The Eurostars funded project E-Wat-Dimon was launched in July 2020, and has a duration of 35 months. Its total budget is 174.949,20€ from which 150.219,72€ are funds of the European Fund of Regional Development.

Aims of the project are to design and validate DNA metabarcoding methodology for European benthic diatoms identification and to develop a DNA-based analytic test for its standard application in biodiversity assessments of European rivers. The main output of the project will be a low-cost product, unique and fast DNA-based tool for routine application. The output of this project will be possibly a patent, of interest to genomic and environmental assessment fields. Eurostars funded projects such as the E-Wat-Dimon support small and medium-sized enterprises (R&D- performing SMEs) to develop rapidly marketable innovative products, processes and services.

Partners in the project are the Laboratorios Tecnológicos de Levante Spain which is the leader organisation, the Cyprus University of Technology and I.A.CO which is the national coordinator.

Developing synergies with stakeholders

Wat-Dimon was presented at the 1st DNAQUA International Conference on the use of DNA for water biomonitoring on the 10th of March 2021. Moreover, the project was presented as a case study of a developing DNA-based test for diatoms biomonitoring, during the National Stakeholder workshop of Cyprus & Greece on the “Biomonitoring of aquatic ecosystems using molecular methods”. The workshop took place on the 12th of March 2021 and was a great success with more than 150 synchronous participants. We discussed on shortcomes and issues, as well as on the next steps and potential applications of the molecular approaches. Both events were supported by the Wat-Dimon consortium.