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Rice agro-ecosystem and environment (RAER)


RAER is a cross-sector research group focusing on the complex dynamics that characterise rice cropping systems in a changing environment. Process- and system understanding of the functioning of rice agro-ecosystems requires a wide range of research disciplines. RAER’s research programmes therefore aim at providing essential knowledge on how global food security, safety and quality can be attained in rice agro-ecosystems while achieving sustainable use of limited natural resources. Our research group brings together expertise in the fields of agronomy, weed management, environmental science, soil biogeochemistry and agricultural engineering. More details about RAER, including current research projects and facilities, are available on our website or by email on

Research Objectives

Research at RAER helps to address some of agriculture's most pressing challenges, that include sustaining and enhancing production yields, mitigating and adapting to climate change, protecting natural resources, providing scientific evidence for new agricultural and environmental policies, as well as sustaining the rural economy in rice cultivation dominated regions such as North Italy.

Research Topics / Areas of Scientific Expertise

Research at RAER is divided into a number of areas each with their specific objectives:

Environmental Agronomy

Identifying sustainable rice cropping systems requires a holistic understanding of the scientific link between paddy field management practices and the environment. Our research involves the evaluation of different water, crop residue and fertilizer management practices in terms of production and quality of rice, nutrient availability and fertilizer efficiency, water quality and consumption, and green-house gas emissions.

Soil Biogeochemistry

Understanding paddy soil functions is essential to understand the feedbacks between rice agro-ecosystem management, biogeochemical cycling and global change. More specifically, our research aims at providing integrated, systems-based, fundamental knowledge on soil functioning, element cycling and organic matter dynamics in rice agro-ecosystems. At a smaller scale, we look at the interactions that occur between element cycles (in particular C, N, P, Fe, As) under alternating redox conditions, and the implications on nutrient/trace element availability, organic matter turnover and stabilization.

Sustainable Weed Management

Sustainable weed management in rice agro-ecosystems requires a thorough understanding of the impact of weeds in rice agro-ecosystems, and the agronomic and environmental consequences related to week management. For this reason, our research focuses on assessing morphological and ecological variability, baseline sensitivity to herbicides, and herbicide resistance/tolerance patterns in various rice weeds. We also evaluate the effects of agricultural practices on weed population dynamics and environmental fate of herbicides.

Agricultural Engineering

Crop residue management in rice paddies often requires the identification and evaluation of management practices alternative to incorporation into soils. Our research mainly deals with the development of on- and off-farm processes and technologies that favour the utilization of rice straw for direct or indirect energy production, through processes such as anaerobic digestion or gasification.

Research facilities

Research carried out at RAER benefits from a number of medium-to-long term experimental platforms dedicated to rice cultivation, where different cropping systems and management practices are compared. For its research, also RAER benefits from the fully-equipped laboratories (chemical, physical and biological), bioreactors, greenhouses and growing chambers situated within the Department’s premises.

Research Group

Environmental Agronomy

  • Chiara Bertora
  • Carlo Grignani
  • Dario Sacco
  • Laura Zavattaro

Soil Biogeochemistry

  • Elisabetta Barberis
  • Eleonora Bonifacio
  • Luisella Celi
  • Roberta Gorra
  • Maria Martin
  • Daniel Said-Pullicino

Sustainable Weed Management

  • Aldo Ferrero
  • Silvia Fogliatto
  • Marco Milan
  • Francesco Vidotto

Agricultural Engineering

  • Gianfranco Airoldi
  • Paolo Balsari
  • Elio Dinuccio
  • Fabrizio Gioelli


Prodotti della ricerca

Cucu MA, Said-Pullicino D, Maurino V, Bonifacio E, Romani M, Celi L
Influence of redox conditions and rice straw incorporation on nitrogen availability in fertilized paddy soils

..... (under updating)


Tag: rice, agro-ecosystem, environment

Ultimo aggiornamento: 18/09/2015 10:45
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