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Member Profile

Membership type: affiliate

Sofía Fernández

Country of origin: Uruguay Currently in: Uruguay, Montevideo General field of specialization: Biological Systems and Organisms
Academic Background


2012 Undergraduate Agricultural Sciences
Research and Profession

Current Research Activities

Biological Systems and Organisms

Probiotics are components of the native microbiota that have health benefits on the host when administered live. In our Department, we developed a model to characterize the probiotic potential of bacterial isolates of diverse origin. We contributed to the description of the bovine ruminal microbiota through projects in collaboration with the Nutrition and Bovine Departments of Veterinary Faculty. My thesis of the Biochemistry Degree had as main objective the characterization of native bacteria with the purpose of using them as probiotics in an in vitro model of ruminal fermentation. In this study, it was observed that the addition of potentially fibrolytic bacteria produced changes in the substrate fermentation profiles. We also developed an in vivo model to study the effect of the administration of fibrolytic bacteria in lambs under semi-intensive breeding systems. In this study, we evaluated their ability to modulate ruminal fermentation to optimize consumption of the vegetal material, to improve the energetic conversion and therefore the productivity as well as to diminish the emission of gases of greenhouse effect like the methane. I also collaborated in a line of research that emerged in 2012 that seeks to characterize bacterial pathogens that affect cattle in semi-intensive and intensive systems in Uruguay. The importance of meat and milk production for the country's economy is evident both for domestic consumption and for export. This has generated an increase in the need to control the health risks associated with these production systems. Two of the most important infectious diseases in our environment, caused by bacterial pathogens, are Neonatal Calf Diarrhea (NCD) and Infectious Keratoconjuntivitis. The general objective of the line is to evaluate the presence and characteristics of the bacterial agents causing these diseases in calves and adults in order to implement prophylaxis measures, in particular the design of effective vaccines for our environment and the region. On the other hand, within the framework of my Master's thesis work, we set out to select probiotics for calves under artificial breeding systems. In these systems, neonatal diarrhea is one of the most important causes of morbidity and mortality, and therefore we consider that this study will allow us to advance in the development of alternative strategies for sustained milk production. Currently in my PhD project we propose to evaluate the effect of the administration of two potentially probiotic strains on the prevalence of neonatal diarrhea and the elucidation of possible mechanisms of action.

Research Keywords: 
Applied Microbiology

Publications resulting from Research: 

Fraga M., Fernández S, Cajarville C, Martínez M, Abin-Carriquiry JA, Zunino P. (2015). In vitro modulation of rumen microbiota and fermentation by native microorganisms isolated from the rumen of a fed-exclusively-on-pasture bovine. Ann Microbiol. DOI 10.1007/s13213-015-1077-2

Umpiérrez A, Acquistapace S, Fernández S, Oliver M, Acuña P, Reolón E, Zunino P. (2015). Prevalence of Escherichia coli adhesion-related genes in neonatal calf diarrhea in Uruguay. J Infect Dev Ctries. DOI: 10.3855/jidc.7102.

Fernández S, Fraga M, Silveyra E, Trombert A. N., Rabaza A, Pla M, Zunino P. (2018). Probiotic properties of native Lactobacillus spp. strains for dairy calves. Ben Microb. DOI: Accepted. Awaiting publication.

Current profession

Current professional activities type: