1993: PhD in Plant Biology and Crop Production, University of Milan, Italy
1987: Degree with honor in Biological Sciences, University of Milan, Italy
2018: Visisting Scientist in the Recursos Geneticos e Biotecnologia (CENARGEN), EMBRAPA, Brasilia, Brasile
2008/2010/2011/2012/2013: Visisting Scientist in the Centro de Ciencias Genomicas, National University of Mexico, Cuernavaca, Mexico
2007: Visisting Scientist in the “Rhizosphere et Symbiosis” unit, INRA–SupAgro, Montpellier, Francia
2000-Present: Researcher at Institute of Biology and Agricultural Biotechnology, CNR, Milan (since 2007 Senior Researcher)
1993-2000: Post-Doc fellow at Insitute of Plant Biosynthesis (former denomination of Institute of Biology and Agricultural Biotechnology), CNR, Milan
1991-1992: Visisting Scientist in the Department of Plant Genetics, il John Innes Institute, Norwich, U.K
Over the centuries, the chestnut tree, cultivated for its fruits and timber, has become an essential element of subsistence for many societies in mountain and sub-mountainous areas, revealing its potential as a multifunctional species. However, today a large part of chestnut forests is in a state of degradation and abandonment, mainly due to the depopulation of rural areas, global climate change and recent outbreaks of exotic pests. With a view to the recovery and enhancement of chestnut genetic resources, the CASTADIVA project mainly aims to:
The project is organized in 3 main activities:
1) Implementation and updating of the BioGenRes network of biobanks, with a focus on nationally/internationally recognized collections of animal, plant or microorganism species samples (animal and plant germplasm banks, microbial strain libraries of pathogenic/toxigenic organisms, nematodes, soil and water microflora and microorganisms used in agro-industry and food (e.g. microbial starters for fermentations)).
2) Replication (rejuvenation) and expansion of material stored in collections. For plant and microbial collections: multiplication of accessions for which a small amount of material is available and rejuvenation of accessions whose seed viability data are below the expected standards (> 85%). For animal collections of zootechnical interest: collection and freezing of genetic material of local breeds to complete sampling carried out in previous projects or expansion of the number of species and breeds stored in cryobanks.
3) Biochemical, molecular, metabolic, functional and phenotypic characterization of the material conserved in the biobanks of the BioGenRes network, also in order to carry out association studies and to identify markers associated with traits linked to production and/or adaptation to biotic and abiotic stress factors.
Common bean is a staple food in many regions in the world. Bean seeds are a major source of dietary fibers, essential amino acid-rich proteins, some vitamins and often display a high content in essential minerals (Fe, Zn, Ca). However, these minerals are scarcely bioavailable, mainly due to the presence of phytic acid. Besides, about 60% of common beans produced worldwide are grown in regions subjected to water stress. The BIO-BELIEF project (ERA-NET FOSC call) aims to select new biofortified and drought resilient bean lines, in order to promote a healthy diet in a general frame of food security. The biofortification traits (incresed seed Fe and decreased phytic acid concentration) will be introgressed in the drought resilient genetic backgrounds. The innovative technology of genome editing will be applied to explore candidate genes involved in drought resilience. The biofortified lines will be exploited by preparing bean-based recipes. The BIO-BELIEF project involves: CNR-IBBA, CREA-GB and the Blumen Group company, Italy; Aix-Marseille University, France; CIAT, Kenya; University of Pretoria, South Africa; EMBRAPA, Brazil.
The project is part of a collaboration with the company Blumen within the project ValProfag (funded by POR-FESR Piemonte) whose goal is to facilitate the cultivation of beans and improve their nutritional qualities. In particular, the objective is to obtain bean varieties with higher Fe content, intended both as absolute and bioavailable quantity. IBBA-CNR collaborates in the genetic improvement activities for the phenotyping aspects of the characters of interest (reduction of phytic acid and iron content).
The general objective of the project, coordinated by the University of Milan, is the evaluation of the potential use of new bean lines, with low content of antinutritional factors, and accessions of white lupin and blue lupin of particular interest as innovative protein sources in piglet feeding, both in terms of nutritional efficiency and environmental impact. An in vivo trial in piglets at weaning will allow to evaluate the nutritional efficiency of the new feeds, to identify variations of the intestinal microbiota associated to the different diets that will be tested and, finally, to evaluate the effective bioavailability of macro- and micronutrients and the reduction of environmental impact, both in terms of reduced excretion of phosphorus and minerals, and from the microbiological point of view. IBBA-CNR will be responsible for assessing and providing the bean genetic materials and for the activities related to microbiota analysis.
Pearl millet is a major crop contributing to food security for poor farmers in arid and semi arid regions of the world. The project aims at providing tools and knowledge to accelerate the breeding of new pearl millet varieties with increased nutritional qualities as well as better adaptation to environmental stresses. New phenotyping methods will be used to characterize a collection of 100 pearl millet inbred lines for 1) root system development and interaction with the rhizosphere microbiota and 2) nutritionally important seed compounds: phytic acid and C-glucosylflavones (goitrogen). The impact of certain root phenotypes on agronomical performances will also be assessed in field trials. In parallel, thousands of high quality DNA markers will be produced on the inbred lines for phenotype/genotype association purpose using next generation sequencing technologies. Together, these approaches should lead to the identification of QTLs/genes involved in agronomically relevant root and seed quality traits.
Aim of the project is the development of common bean lines/varieties with an improved nutritional profile (biofortified and low anutinutrients) resulting from a breeding program in which the biofortified and low antinutrients parents have been provided by IBBA-CNR. These lines will be used for the production of innovative products, such as bakery products, pasta or snacks, destined to specific target consumers, such as diabetics, celiac or individuals with iron requirements. To this purpose bean flours will be prepared from genotypes with different compositions in nutrients and bioactive compounds.
Aim of the project is the optimization of the use of industrial by-products and wastewaters as growth substrates for plant cell cultures and the optimization of their growth in economically and environmentally sustainable conditions to substantiate the possibility to build a cardoon-based cell biofactory in line with the principles of Circular Economy. Biotechnological approaches, through the RNAi strategy and/or the emerging technique of “genome editing”, on seed/leaf derived calli will be directed to increase monounsaturated fatty acids, while modifying lignin composition for accumulation of different phenolic acids as well as higher digestibility and availability of the cellulose fraction to enzymatic degradation. Furthermore, economic and environmental analysis of the production model of cardoon cells will be performed.
sPATIALS3 is a technological and research hub involving 12 CNR Institutes belonging to 4 different Departments and 4 companies. Main objectives will be: obtainment of innovative food products improved for their nutritional and functional properties; provision and implementation of precision technologies to guarantee products quality, safety and traceability; development of innovative and eco-sustainable smart– and active-packaging to minimize and reuse wastes, where possible, and to increase food preservability; provision to consumers and producers of tools for results exploitation.