The Institute

It was founded in 2001, following the merger of the Plant Biosynthesis Institute and the Animal Germplasm Conservation and Defence Institute of Milan, and the Soil Microbiology Centre of Pisa.

Today, the Institute of Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology of the CNR, belonging to the Department of Biology, Agriculture and Food Sciences, is headquartered in Milan and has three other operating research facilities located respectively in Lodi, Pisa and Rome.

The Objectives

The four branches of the Institute carry out diversified but complementary research activities and, inspired by five key concepts, outline as many lines of research that are developed on common objectives:

  • Contribute to the increase of knowledge regarding biological systems at the molecular, cellular and entire organism levels, by studying the interaction of these systems with the environment.
  • Apply the knowledge acquired to the genetic improvement of plant, animal and microorganisms, and to the development of new technologies for the benefit of agriculture, health and the environment.
  • Develop new tools for food authentication, identification of food pathogens, nutritional and functional characterization of agricultural production.

Find out more

The research activities

The knowledge

The research activities in the area BIOCEL Cell Biology and Plant Development are mainly conducted at the molecular level and aim to understand the integrated circuits of metabolic pathways and subcellular structures that regulate plant life, promoting a new vision of plant cell biology.


Research in the area BIOTEC Plant and Industrial Biotechnologies aims to improve agri-food production through a well considered use of genetic resources and the identification of genes whose products are involved in the development of adaptive responses and in the production of useful metabolites and biomolecules.

The environment

The studies in the area PAINT Plant-Environment Interactions, carried out with biological and molecular approaches, are dedicated to the characterization of the response of plants to environmental conditions that differ from a climatic, physical, microbiological and nutritional point of view.


The research activities in the area QUALY Quality and Traceability of Agricultural Products deal with the evaluation and improvement of the quality of food products in terms of safety, traceability, nutritional characteristics, as well as the beneficial effect on human and animal health.


The investigations conducted in the area BIOGEN Genomics and Agrobiodiversity, using the study of genomes assisted by robust bioinformatics support, search for genetic and epigenetic determinants that in animals, plants and microorganisms control characters useful for adaptation to the environment, for human health and in support of agronomic activities.

The research locations

Milano Headquarter

Milano Headquarter

It is historically active in the fields of molecular genetics, plant physiology, cell biology and plant biotechnology. Data analysis and bionformatics activities related to the analysis of animal and plant genomes have recently been added.

The Headquarters is equipped with all the necessary equipment for the development and execution of cell biology, biochemistry and molecular genetics studies, including various specialized laboratories. Of particular note is the availability of plant growth facilities to grow plants under controlled conditions, for plant tissue culture and microalgae cultivation (in collaboration with IBF).

The IBBA headquarters in Milan also hosts the FOODCODE platform for food genetic authentication.


Lodi Branch

Lodi Branch

It is the Research Unit dedicated to the livestock sector. The researchers tackle the problems of the management and conservation of livestock breeds and of genomics applied to the qualitative and quantitative improvement of animal production. They are also active in the study of animal and environmental microbiota and in the development of diagnostic tools for animal health, traceability and safety of products of animal origin.

A genomics platform including two MiSeq sequencers and other equipment for genetic analysis is located here. As part of the BioGenRes departmental collection, the Lodi facility maintains a collection of semen resulting from its activity of animal germplasm conservation.


Pisa Branch

Pisa Branch

It is mainly engaged in the study of the nutraceutical characteristics of agri-food products through in vitro and in vivo tests on animal models. Other lines of activity concern the analysis of the intestinal microbiome in relation to diet, the physiology of stress in plants and the study of the dynamics of mycorrhizal-arbuscular populations.

The Pisa Research Unit has several specialized laboratories available: for cell cultures, molecular biology, biochemistry, for microbiological and mutagenicity and genotoxicity analyses.


Roma Montelibretti Branch

Roma Montelibretti Branch

This IBBA Research Unit studies model and crop plants to characterize the genetic determinants, and the endogenous and environmental stimuli, that regulate the processes of development, cell differentiation and stress response for genetic improvement in agriculture and for environmental sustainability.

This Research Unit is fully equipped with laboratories for the development and execution of research in molecular biology, plant physiology and “omics” sciences (genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics), and include a laboratory of microscopy, one of micropropagation for in vitro culture under aseptic conditions, and three growth chambers for plant growth under controlled conditions.


The Governance

The Director

He is the contact person for the experimental and administrative activities of the Institute of which he is the representative both within the CNR and externally in the contacts with Institutions, Universities, Local Bodies, Companies.

He is responsible for the results of the activity carried out by the Institute, for consistency with the mission and with the planning programmes for the research, for the adequacy and proper functioning of the instrumental equipment. He adopts the necessary acts of competence of the Institute in compliance with the regulations of the institution.

From 1 July 2020 the IBBA Director is Dr. Aldo Ceriotti.

The Institute Council

The representative body of the internal scientific community, collaborates and assists the Director in formulating proposals for the improvement of the performance of experimental activities, with a view to improving the quality of research and the development of new skills. It expresses a periodic opinion on the progress of the activities and their relevance to the mission of the Institute, also through the preparation of the management plan and the performance annual report.

From 1 May 2024 the members of the Institute Council are: Ariano Enrico, Baldoni Elena, Cominelli Eleonora, Cremonesi Paola, De Filippo Carlotta, Iannelli Maria Adelaide, Morello Laura Emma Maria.


The Institute Conference

Called once a year by the Director, analyzes the results achieved together with all the staff, verifying compliance with the expected objectives, identifying critical issues and indicating possible solutions.

Search website