STRATEGIES FOR CROP PRODUCTIVITY, STABILITY AND QUALITY
In the last years more attention has been posed on crop productivity and quality. The increasing attention on food chains has stressed the opportunity to revaluate the concept of food security and safety, that are no more a per se value but a concept strongly related to the market and consumer’s needs. Thence, crop productivity, stability and quality is now declined in several different ways depending on the output requested. Crop practices in the field or handling and processing practices during post-harvest are then involved and applied following different strategies. Our main goal is to single out food or feed chain needs and to translate knowledge into opportunities for farmers, processors and all players through an updated scientific approach.
Sub-theme I. Crop Science I: Mycotoxin control in cereals
The research group has been involved since the year 2000 in projects concerning the mycotoxin occurrence and prevention in cereals. Since the good agricultural practice (GAP) requires an integrated approach that addresses all the possible risk factors in order to prevent mycotoxin contamination, the interactions between the crop techniques and the effect of field programmes have been studied in order to minimize the incidence of mycotoxins and to reduce their contamination throughout the feed and food chain. The fate of mycotoxins in the main cereal chain transformation was also investigated, in particular the decontamination during the milling process, and the effect of several post-harvest treatments to reduce the contamination in cereal grains, derived-product and by-products.
The research group skills are related to the study of field management tools able to reduce mycotoxin contamination in maize, common wheat, durum wheat and barley, following an integrated approach which considers the whole cropping system. The aim of the research activity is focused to identify and verify at a pre- and post-harvest levels technical, management and organizational solutions that could be effective to minimize mycotoxin contamination risk in the cereal food and feed chains.
Sub-theme II. Crop Science II: Productivity and technological quality of cereal
The research team aims to investigate the relationship between the crop practices and the productive, technological and nutritional characteristics of cereals for food, feed and industrial applications.
The team is involved in the identification of innovative Good Agricultural Practices and Good Management Practices in order to improve the productivity and the quality of cereals within the whole chain, taking into account the fundamental interaction with the pedo-climatic conditions. The data obtained are used for the Development of Crop Management Systems for specific productive orientations, considering with particular attention the innovative and emerging supply chains for cereals.
As far as the qualitative parameters is concerned, the most recent activities included:
Sub-theme III. Horticultural Science
The group has focused its attention throughout the years on the whole food chain, from the agricultural chain up to the final food production. Several research projects have been undertaken throughout the years working on physiological and technological aspects of fresh-cut products. Specifically, the research team has investigated the effects of cultivation practices on the quality of the produce at harvest, on the postharvest handling, processing and packaging. The intrinsic quality of fruit and leafy vegetables have been studied throughout the postharvest shelf-life, focusing on respiratory processes, quality decay of the product, temperature and light abuse during shelf-life, temperature abuse at harvesting, microbial spoilage and safety aspects during production and processing. Some research activities have been conducted in collaboration with foreign research institutes. The group has also a long experience on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAP) and their use in the agrifood sector. Some projects have dealt and are under going on the plant natural bioactive compounds to be used in the agrifood sector as natural preservative. The systems approach adopted implies the pursuing the crop productivity stability by enhancing growing systems with technological innovations. Soilless culture systems are developed and investigated to produce constant and consistent yield, of prime quality both for the fresh market and for the postharvest technology processes.
Sub-theme IV. Insect vectors of plant pathogens
Insect-transmitted diseases of plants, namely of grapevine and horticultural crops, are of major importance in the Piemonte Region. They have a dramatic impact on crop yield and crop protection strategies with important consequences on the whole food chain and on the economic and social structure of some agricultural sections. The research team investigates biology, ethology and ecology of leafhopper, planthopper, psyllid and mealybug vectors of grapevine and fruit tree phytoplasmas and of viruses infecting horticultural crops and grapevine. The epidemiology of these arthropod-borne diseases is also a focus of the research. Specifically the research group has studied:
The groups have been involved in several R&D projects throughout the decades.
Sub-theme I and II. Crop Science
Sub-theme III. Horticultural Science
Sub-theme IV. Insect vectors of plant pathogens
Production facilities: Fully equipped experimental center located in the area of production of the arable and horticultural species, with several open field hectares, walk-in tunnels, glasshouses and greenhouses for soil and soilless culture with environmental control, nursery greenhouse, open field and tunnel stock plant maintenance, FAO- standard meteorological station.
Moreover the team has the expertise to set-up experimental farms in different environments and has all the equipment necessary for their management (plot precision sprayer, cereal plot combine-harvester, equipment for plot sowing and fertilization, drones for remote sensing) and post harvest sample management (e.g. oven, freezer).
Produce Laboratory: general equipment, storage rooms, ovens and walk-in ovens and dryers, hydrodistillation equipment, biometrical analysis equipment, PAR and NDVI measurements, grain thresher, dynamic cleaner.
Postharvest Laboratory - Conditioned Pilot Plant equipped with: a sectional vegetable washer, basic packaging system, 3 cool chambers conditioned for temperature, air humidity and light.
Analitical and Quality Laboratory apart from basic equipped with: chemical hood, HPLC-DAD, LC-MS-MS, spectrophotometer, near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy systems, Mixolab Chopin rheological dough analyzer, Stenvert hardess mill, abrasive-type grain testing mill, portable gas analyzer (O2, CO2), centrifuges and thermal centrifuges, microscopy, reflectance colorimeter.
Biological Laboratory equipped with: laminar flow hood and microbial hood, autoclaves, incubators for microbiology, hotwater bath, oven dryers, stomackers.
Molecular Biology Laboratory equipped with PCR and real-time PCR thermal cyclers, refrigerated centrifuges, electrophoresis, Nanodrop spectrophotometer, -80 °C freezers, cell incubators, GelDoc system.
Short and Long Term storage Laboratories: vertical and horizontal refrigerators, vertical and horizontal freezers, freezer room.
Doctoral and postdoctoral Students’ and Hosted Scientists’ Facilities and Services: offices fully ICT equipped for students and scientists, personnel for assistance to foreign visitors, common rooms at the experimental center and in the department, state cars for registered visitors.
Sub-theme I and II. Crop Science
BLANDINO M., REYNERI A., VANARA F., 2008. Effect of plant density on toxigenic fungal infection and mycotoxin contamination of maize kernels. Field Crops Research, 106: 234-241.
BLANDINO M., PILATI A., REYNERI A., 2009. Effect of foliar treatments to durum wheat on flag leaf senescence, grain yield, quality and DON contamination in North Italy. Field Crops Research, 114: 214-222.
BLANDINO M., REYNERI A., 2009. Effect of fungicide and foliar fertilizer application to winter wheat at anthesis on flag leaf senescence, grain yield, flour bread-making quality and DON contamination. European Journal of Agronomy, 30:275-282.
BLANDINO M., REYNERI A., COLOMBARI G., PIETRI A., 2009. Comparison of integrated field programmes for the reduction of fumonisin contamination in maize kernels. Field Crops Research, 111: 284-289.
BLANDINO M., REYNERI A., VANARA F., 2009. Effect of sowing time on toxigenic fungal infection and mycotoxin contamination of maize kernels. Journal of Phytopathology, 157: 7-14.
BLANDINO M., REYNERI A., VANARA F., PASCALE M., HAIDUKOWSKI M., CAMPAGNA C., 2009. Management of fumonisin contamination in maize kernels through the timing of insecticide application against European corn borer. Food Additives and Contaminants, 26 (11): 1501-1514.
VANARA F., REYNERI A., BLANDINO M., 2009. Fate of fumonisins in the processing of whole maize kernels during dry-milling. Food control, 20(3): 235-238.
BLANDINO M., MANCINI M.C., PEILA A., ROLLE L., VANARA F., REYNERI A., 2010. Determination of maize kernel hardness: comparison of different laboratory tests to predict dry-milling performance. Journal of Science and Food Agriculture, 90: 1870-1878.
BLANDINO M., GALEAZZI M., SAVOIA W., REYNERI A., 2012. Timing of azoxystrobin + propiconazole application on maize to control Northern Corn Leaf Blight and maximize grain yield. Field Crops Research, 139: 20-29.
BLANDINO M., HAIDUKOWSKI M., PASCALE M., PLIZZARI L., SCUDELLARI D., REYNERI A., 2012. Integrated strategies for the control of Fusarium head blight and deoxynivalenol contamination in winter wheat. Field Crops Research, 133: 139-149.
SOVRANI V., BLANDINO M., SCARPINO V., REYNERI A., COISSON J.D., TRAVAGLIA F., LOCATELLI M., BORDIGA M., MONTELLA R., ARLORIO M., 2012. Bioactive compound content, antioxidant activity, deoxynivalenol and heavy metal contamination of pearled wheat fractions. Food Chemistry, 135: 39-46.
BLANDINO M., SACCO D., REYNERI A., 2013. Prediction of the dry-milling performance of maize hybrids through hardness-associated properties. Journal of Science and Food Agriculture, 93: 1356-1364.
BLANDINO M., SOVRANI V., MARINACCIO F., REYNERI A., ROLLE L., GIACOSA S., LOCATELLI M., BORDIGA M., TRAVAGLIA F., COISSON J.D., ARLORIO M., 2013 Nutritional and technological quality of bread enriched with an intermediated pearled wheat fraction. Food Chemistry, 141: 2549-2557.
SCARPINO V., BLANDINO M., VANARA F., NEGRE M., REYNERI A., 2013. Moniliformin Analysis in Maize Samples from North-West Italy Using Multifunctional Clean-up Columns and the LC-MS/MS Detection Method. Food Additives and Contaminants, Part A, 30:5, 876-884.
BLANDINO M., VACCINO P., REYNERI A., 2015. Late-season N increases improver common and durum wheat quality. Agronomy Journal, 107(2), 680-690.
MARINACCIO F., REYNERI A., BLANDINO M., 2015. Enhancing grain yield and quality of winter barley through agronomic strategies to prolong canopy greenness. Field Crops Research, 170: 109-118.
Sub-theme III. Horticultural Science
BINELLO, A., ORIO, L., PIGNATA, G., NICOLA, S., CHEMAT, F., CRAVOTTO, G. 2014. Effect of microwaves on the in situ hydrodistillation of four different Lamiaceae. Comptes Rendus Chimie 17:181-186.
FONTANA, E., HOEBERECHTS, J., NICOLA, S., CROS, V., PALMEGIANO, G.B., PEIRETTI, P.G. 2006. Nitrogen concentration and nitrate/ammonium ratio affect yield and change the oxalic acid concentration and fatty acid profile of purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.) grown in a soilless culture system. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 86:2417-2424; DOI: 10.1002/JSFA.2633.
FONTANA, E., NICOLA, S. 2008. Producing Garden Cress (Lepidium sativum L.) for the Fresh-cut Chain using Soilless Culture System. J. Horticultural Science and Biotechnology. 83(1):23-32.
FONTANA, E., NICOLA, S. 2009. Traditional and Soilless Culture Systems to Produce Corn Salad (Valerianella olitoria L.) and Rocket (Eruca sativa Mill.) with Low Nitrate Content. Journal of Food Agriculture & Environment 7(2):405-410.
NICOLA, S., FONTANA, E. 2014. Fresh-cut produce quality: implications for a systems approach (Chapter 9). pp. 217-273. In: Postharvest handling: a systems approach (Third ed.). W. J. Florkowski, R. Shewfelt, B. Breuckner and S. E. Prussia, (Eds). Academic Press / Elsevier, San Diego, CA, USA. ISBN: 978-0-12-408137-6. pp. 564+xxii.
NICOLA, S., FONTANA, E., HOEBERECHTS, J., TORASSA, C. 2006. Fresh-cut Produce: Postharvest Critical Issues. Acta Horticulturae 712:223:230.
NICOLA, S., TIBALDI, G., FONTANA, E. 2009. Fresh-cut produce quality: implications for a systems approach (Chapter 10). pp. 277-282. In: Postharvest handling: a systems approach. Wojciech Florkowski, Robert Shewfelt, Bernhard Brueckner, and Stanley Prussia. Pag. 247-282. Elsevier B.V., San Diego (USA). ISBN: 978-0-12-374112-7. pp. 615+xix.
ORIO, L., CRAVOTTO, G., BINELLO, A., PIGNATA, G. , NICOLA, S., CHEMAT, F. 2012. Hydrodistillation and in situ microwave-generated hydrodistillation of fresh and dried mint leaves: a comparison study. J. of the Science of Food and Agriculture 92(15):3085-3090. DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.5730.
ROTOLO, L., GAI, F., NICOLA, S., ZOCCARATO, I., BRUGIAPAGLIA, A., GASCO, L. 2013. Dietary Supplementation of oregano and sage dried leaves on performances and meat quality of rabbits. Journal of Integrative Agriculture 12(11): 1937-1945.
TIBALDI, G., FONTANA, E., NICOLA, S. 2011. Growing conditions and postharvest management can affect the essential oil of Origanum vulgare L. ssp. hirtum (Link) Ietswaart. Industrial Crops and Products 34 (3): 1516– 1522. DOI:10.1016/j.indcrop.2011.05.008.
TIBALDI, G., FONTANA, E., NICOLA, S. 2013. Postharvest management affects spearmint and calamint essential oils. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. J. of the Science of Food and Agriculture 93:580-586. DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.5836.
TIBALDI, G., FONTANA, E., NICOLA, S., 2010. Cultivation practices do not change the Salvia sclarea L. essential oil but drying process does. J. Food Agric. Environ. 8(3&4). 790-794.
ZHAN, L.J., FONTANA, E., TIBALDI, G., NICOLA, S. 2009. Qualitative and physiological response of minimally processed garden cress (Lepidium sativum L.) to harvest handling and post-processing storage conditions. Journal of Food Agriculture & Environment 7(3&4):43-50.
Sub-theme IV. Insect vectors of plant pathogens
TEDESCHI, R., PICCIAU, L., QUAGLINO, F., ABOU‐JAWDAH, Y., MOLINO LOVA, M., JAWHARI, M., ... & ALMA, A. (2015). A cixiid survey for natural potential vectors of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma phoenicium’in Lebanon and preliminary transmission trials. Annals of Applied Biology. DOI: 10.1111/aab.12188.
ABOU‐JAWDAH, Y., ABDEL SATER, A., JAWHARI, M., SOBH, H., ABDUL‐NOUR, H., BIANCO, P. A., ... & ALMA, A. (2014). Asymmetrasca decedens (Cicadellidae, Typhlocybinae), a natural vector of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma phoenicium’. Annals of Applied Biology, 165(3), 395-403.
MARGARIA, P., BOSCO, L., VALLINO, M., CIUFFO, M., MAUTINO, G. C., TAVELLA, L., & TURINA, M. (2014). The NSs protein of tomato spotted wilt virus is required for persistent infection and transmission by Frankliniella occidentalis. Journal of Virology, 88(10), 5788-5802.
LESSIO F., TOTA F., ALMA A., 2014. Tracking the dispersion of Scaphoideus titanus Ball (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) from wild to cultivated grapevine: use of a novel mark-capture technique. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 104: 432-443.
MAGGI F., GALETTO L., MARZACHÌ C., BOSCO D. 2014. Temperature-dependent transmission of “Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris” by the vector leafhopper Macrosteles quadripunctulatus Kirschbaum. Entomologia: 2: 202, pp87-94.
RASHIDI M., D’AMELIO R., GALETTO L., MARZACHÌ C., AND BOSCO D., 2014. Interactive transmission of two phytoplasmas by the vector insect. Annals of Applied Biology, 165: 404-413.
GALETTO L., MILIORDOS D., ROGGIA C., RASHIDI M., MARZACHÌ C., BOSCO D., 2014. Acquisition capability of the grapevine Flavescence dorée by the leafhopper vector Scaphoideus titanus Ball correlates with phytoplasma titre in the source plant. Journal of Pest Science, 87: 671-679.
BERTIN S., BOSCO D., 2013. Molecular identification of phytoplasma vector species. In “Phytoplasma. Methods and Protocols” (M. Dickinson and J. Hodgetts Eds). Springer Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology 938, Humana Press, New York, pp. 87-108.
BOSCO D., MORI N., 2013. Flavescence dorée vector control in Italy. Phytopathogenic Mollicutes 3(1): 40-43.
BOSCO D., TEDESCHI R., 2013. Insect vector transmission assays. In “Phytoplasma. Methods and Protocols” (M. Dickinson and J. Hodgetts Eds). Springer Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology 938, Humana Press, New York, pp.73-85.
MAGGI F., MARZACHÌ C., BOSCO D., 2013. A stage-structured model of Scaphoideus titanus in vineyards. Environmental Entomology 42(2): 181-193. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EN12216.
MONTI M., MARTINI M., TEDESCHI R. 2013. EvaGreen Real-time PCR protocol for specific 'Candidatus Phytoplasma mali' detection and quantification in insects. Molecular and Cellular Probes 27 (3-4): 129-136.
CAMEROTA C., RADDADI N., PIZZINAT A., GONELLA E., CROTTI E., TEDESCHI R., MOZES-DAUBE N., EMBER I., ACS, Z., KOLBER M., ZCHORI-FEIN E., DAFFONCHIO D., ALMA A. 2012. Incidence of 'Candidatus Liberibacter europaeus' and phytoplasmas in Cacopsylla species (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) and their host/shelter plants. Phytoparasitica 40 (3): 213-221.
GONELLA E., CROTTI E., RIZZI A., MANDRIOLI M., FAVIA G., DAFFONCHIO D., ALMA A. 2012. Horizontal transmission of the symbiotic bacterium Asaia sp. in the leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus Ball (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). BMC Microbiology 12 (Suppl 1), S4.
MAUTINO G.C., SACCO D., CIUFFO M., TURINA M., TAVELLA L., 2012. Preliminary evidence of recovery from Tomato spotted wilt virus infection in Frankliniella occidentalis individuals. Annals of Applied Biology 161: 266-276.
TEDESCHI R., BALDESSARI M., MAZZONI V., TRONA F., ANGELI G. 2012. Population dynamics of Cacopsylla melanoneura (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) in northeast Italy and its role in the apple proliferation epidemiology in apple orchards. Journal of Economic Entomology 105 (2): 322-328.
TURINA M., TAVELLA L., CIUFFO M., 2012. Tospoviruses in the Mediterranean Area. Advances in Virus Research 84: 403-437.
GALETTO L., BOSCO D., BALESTRINI R., GENRE A., FLETCHER J., MARZACHÌ C., 2011. The Major Antigenic Membrane Protein of ‘‘Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris’’ Selectively Interacts with ATP Synthase and Actin of Leafhopper Vectors. PLoS ONE, 6(7), e22571.
GALETTO L., MARZACHÌ C., DEMICHELIS S, BOSCO D., 2011. Host plant determines the phytoplasma transmission competence of Empoasca decipiens (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 104(2): 360-366.
GONELLA E., NEGRI I., MARZORATI M., MANDRIOLI M., SACCHI L., PAJORO M., CROTTI E., RIZZI A., CLEMENTI E., TEDESCHI R., BANDI C., ALMA A., DAFFONCHIO D. 2011. Bacterial endosymbiont localization in Hyalesthes obsoletus, the insect vector of Bois Noir in Vitis vinifera. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77(4): 1423-1435.
LESSIO F., MONDINO E. B., ALMA A., 2011. Spatial patterns of Scaphoideus titanus (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae): a geostatistical and neural network approach. International Journal of Pest Management 57 (3): 205-216.
RADDADI N., GONELLA E., CAMEROTA C., PIZZINAT A., TEDESCHI R., CROTTI E., MANDRIOLI M., BIANCO P.A., DAFFONCHIO D., ALMA A. 2011. ‘Candidatus Liberibacter europaeus’ sp. nov. that is associated with and transmitted by the psyllid Cacopsylla pyri apparently behaves as an endophyte rather than a pathogen. Environmental Microbiology 13(2): 414-426.
TSAI C.W., BOSCO D., DAANE K.M., ALMEIDA R.P.P., 2011. Effect of Host Plant Tissue on the Vector Transmission of Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3. Journal of Economic Entomology 104(5): 1480-1485.