Biology, Agriculture and Food Sciences

Description of activities:

Several groups of researchers from IBBA, ISB, IC and ISMN Institutes, currently belonging to different CNR Departments, carry on research activities sharing the common objective of increasing scientific and technological knowledge to favor the development of an innovative agrofood system able to ensure healthy and high quality food through the sustainable use of natural resources.

The studies focus on thematic areas related to  biology and agro biotechnologies, nutrition and sustainable agriculture, in order to develop innovative solutions and provide technologic services to public and private sectors.

The biology and agro biotechnology field includes: a) characterization and conservation of plant genetic resources; (b) enhancing, traceability, certification and quali-quantitative improvement of agricultural crops, in particular for  local and eco-compatible productions, by molecular markers and biotechnologies; c) understanding the genetic and molecular basis of growth, development and production of model plants and cultivated species used in the agro-food system (IBBA, ISB, IC).

Quality and safety of food include: (a) analysis of healthy (e.g. nutritional and nutraceutical) and harmful principles (e.g., contaminants, allergens) of fresh or processed food, food matrices and new foods holistic approaches (“omics” technologies, such as transcripts, proteomics and metabolomics); (b) identification of quality and safety indicators by means of (tele)diagnostic systems, the latter focusing on the development and use of new bio/chemosensors, starting from the design of new, sensitive, advanced materials with chemical-biological origin; c) methods, solutions and technologies for the valorisation of typical products and the production of nutraceuticals and functional foods with high salutistic power (IBBA, ISB, IC, ISMN).

The field of sustainable agriculture includes a) the innovative use of bio/chemosensors for on/at-line monitoring for early diagnosis, such as anomalies warning systems in agri-food production to support specific management strategies ; b) the identification of the genetic and molecular basis of the abiotic stress response; c) soil modification techniques by characterizing adsorption and cation exchange properties  (IBBA, IC, ISMN, ISB).

The expertise of the institutes is synergistic and integrated, ranging from biology, biochemistry, biophysics physiology, molecular genetics and biotechnology of plant species to organic and analytical chemistry, including NMR spectroscopy, optics, fluorescence, X-ray, electrophoresis and miniaturized chromatography, up to bio/chemo – sensors for optic and  electrochemical transduction sensors.

Keywords: agriculture, nutrition, health, safety, traceability, typicality, valorisation, sustainability, biotechnology, biosensors, sensors.

INSTITUTES

EXPERTISE

FACILITIES

(IBBA)

  • Advanced biochemistry laboratories, molecular biology and biotechnology of plants;
  • Diagnosis, molecular analysis and genotyping by PCR analysis, quantitative PCR on DNA, RNA and HRM;
  • Optical and epifluorescence microscopy laboratories;
  • Micropropagation and in vitro plant cultivation of plants under aseptic and phytotron conditions;
  • Bioinformatics laboratories for the reprocessing of “omics” data (genomic and transcriptomic, obtained by sequencing of new generation Illumina, or metabolomic data).

(IC)

  • The biosensors laboratory is equipped with electrochemical, optical and spectrophotometric instruments, potentiostats and microfluidic devices, tools for new biosensor validation including surface plasmon resonance (SPR), high performance liquid chromatography, spectrophotometers for the development of biorecceptors labeled with fluorescent probes, automatic synthesizers for the production of artificial biorecceptors for biosensoristic purposes. Specifically, the Institute can perform studies of: molecular dynamics and molecular engineering for the design of new ad hoc synthetic bioreceptors, fluorescence spectroscopy, UV/VIS for biophysical characterization and interaction study between biological macromolecules; development of natural or biomimetic bioreceptors; marking methods with fluorescent probes and nanomaterial; immobilization techniques; hybrid-biological synthesis for the construction of optoelectronic devices; optimization of electro-optical transduction systems.
  • Laboratory equipped for the cultivation of microalgae;
  • Chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology laboratories;
  • Laboratory for the study of photosynthesis;
  • Biosensoristics laboratory.

(ISB)

  • 600 MHz Bruker Spectrometer – high resolution – for liquid and semi-solid state (HR-MAS)
  • 400 MHz Bruker spectrometer – solid state
  • 300 MHz Bruker Spectrometer – high resolution – liquid state
  • Counter relaxation meter
  • Portable relaxation meter for field measurements
  • HPLC-MS
  • GC e GC-MS
  • Nano HPLC
  • CE (capillary electrophoresis)
  • Horiba Jobin-Yvon Spectrofluorometer FLUOROMAX 4 (static and time-resolved fluorescence)
  • FT-IR Spectrometer Thermo Fisher Scientific, Nicolet iS10
  • Thermogravimetry: Mettler Toledo, TGA / DSC2
  • Fritch Pulvirusette 9 Mechanochemistry Mill
  • 60Co Nordion GC 220 gamma Irradiator
  • Angelantoni Climate Room, Challenge 340
  • AFM Park Systems XE-100
  • KSV MiniTrough 2 (Study of Langmuir film, measurement of single layer potential, Langmuir-Blodgett Film deposition)
  • Microtox test for the assessment of the ecotoxicity of liquid and solid samples

(ISMN)

  • Prototype of an integrated sensor / biosensor system, patent ISS-CNR-UNIV.
  • Prototype of a multicellular system for measuring algal fluorescence
  • Agilent Cary Eclipse Spettrofluorometer.
  • ASAL model 700 Vertical laminar flow hood
  • VDRL Model 711 / CT stirrer with thermostatic dome
  • RX Philips PW1729 Diffractometer
  • UV-Vis-NIR Cary 5E Spectrophotometer
  • Atomic absorption spectrometer Varian Spectra 220