Applied Ecology

People: Clara Boglione, Tommaso RussoRoberta CongestriLuciana Migliore

  • Analysis of the effects of environmental conditions on development, physiological state and behaviour of Teleost fish (Clara Boglione)
  • Analysis of the pattern of exploitation of life resources in the Mediterranean from the italian commercial fishing fleet by means of Vessel Monitoring System by Satellite: trends, bioeconomical models and spatial statistics. (Tommaso Russo)

Food safety

  • Multidisciplinary evaluation of overall quality of aquatic animal production; setting up of morpho-eco-physiological indicators of products and quality processes aimed at building regulatory models for aquaculture full chain and for environmental quality. Innovative applications to system control of fishery chain: use of immagine analysis for freshness evaluation or for controlling illegal under-size fishes in market boxes. (Clara Boglione)
  • Image analysis method for automatic cyanobacterial recognition in drinking water; early warning, sensor-based, techniques for phycotoxin detection in fish and mussels. (Roberta Congestri)

Microbial Ecology and Ecotoxicology
Effects of increased CO2:

  • Changes in the microbial communities associated with seagrass in experimental conditions (mesocosms) and in naturally acidified sea water; analysis of biochemical markers in plants exposed to sea water acidification. Analysis of the increasing incidence of Vibrionaceae in the Mediterranean, as the consequence of the water-temperature rising which, in turn, is linked to the CO2 increase and the global warming effect. Molecular identification methods to identify environmental species, including those pathogenic for ‘humans and/or marine animals. (Luciana Migliore)

Ecotoxicity of Nanomaterials

  • Development of new ecotoxicological tests and adaptation of already standardized assays for the evaluation of the effects of nanoparticles in freshwater, marine and brackish ecosystems. In particular, a new, rapid and inexpensive test on Vibrio anguillarum has been developed as a model system for the evaluation of the ecotoxicity of metal nanomaterials in marine and brackish ecosystems, where salinity modify the physical state of nanoparticles. Furthermore, other standardized tests on other organisms belonging to other trophic levels (i.e. producer, consumers) have been modifyed, to cope with the needs of nanomaterial evaluation. In accordance with OECD indications, all these assays include the assessment of the physical state and the aggregation of nanomaterials to the different test conditions (i.e. salinity). For this reason the essays include the evaluations by Analytical Centrifugation (Lumisizer ®) and Dynamic light scattering (DLS), to state the relationships between ecotoxicity and physical state of the material in each test (Luciana Migliore). The same tests were utilized to evaluate the effects of microplastics. (Luciana Migliore)

Biotechnology applied to Cultural Heritage

People: Laura Bruno, Olga Rickards, Cristina Martinez-LabargaLuciana Migliore

  • Assessment and monitoring of the damage from deterioration due to the growth of phototrophic biofilms on frescoes, marble and plaster in archeological hypogea (Roman Catacombs) and on stone monuments (Hindu temples). Microbial diversity assessment by means of a polyphasic approach (LM, CLSM, ecophysiology, exopolymeric secretion characterization, molecular studies). Development of noninvasive and non-destructive techniques against biological colonization of confined environments. (Laura Bruno)
  • Extraction methods of DNA and protein from small amounts of tissue were used to obtain information on the genetic background (through the phylogeographic reconstruction of  mtDNA and Y chromosome haplotypes), the diet (by stable isotope analysis and palaeobotanical and palaeozoological studies) and migrations (through high resolution stable isotope analysis of biogenic trace elements preserved in enamel, in particular strontium isotopes 87Sr/86Sr) of the ancient human populations. These methods will be applied to different fields of the anthropological research –kinship and sex determination, geographical origin, degree of relationships with other ancient and extant populations, and identification of possible pathologies or genetic defects. (Olga Rickards, Cristina Martinez-Labarga)
  • Development of an integrated system to assess the biodeterioration of ancient parchments and to identify the model of parchment colonization and the effects on the parchment matrix, through a multidisciplinary approach which includes the metagenomic analysis of the parchment colonizers, the chemical analysis (Raman) of colonization pigment residues and Light Transmitted Analysis to identify the degree of collagen denaturation. (Luciana Migliore)

Biotecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Diagnosi e monitoraggio dell’entità del danno da biodeterioramento indotto dalla crescita di microrganismi fototrofi; metodi di estrazione di DNA e proteine da minime quantità di tessuto biologico antico; messa a punto di un sistema integrato per il monitoraggio del biodeterioramento di pergamene antiche

Docenti di riferimento: Laura Bruno, Olga Rickards, Cristina Martinez-LabargaLuciana MiglioreMaria Cristina Thaller

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Natural Compounds for New Diagnostic Applications and New Active Principles

People: Cinzia Forni, Laura Bruno, Roberta Congestri, Antonella CaniniStefano Rufini 

  • Production of nutraceutics with antitumor activity in agronomic species. Extraction, purification and identification of secondary metabolites from plant species used in diet and determination of their antitumor activity. Studies of molecular mechanisms involved in the response of cancer cells to the treatment with nutraceutics (Cinzia Forni)
  • Microalgal and cyanobacterial biomass production for application in nutra-and pharmaceutics, food and feed additives, antioxidant, antiviral and antinflammatory algal compound. Algal pigments as markers in innovative diagnostic applications Diatom frustule photonics for random lasing and dye trapping applications. (Laura Bruno, Roberta Congestri)
  • Selected diatom biomass in photobioreactors for extraction of biosilica (siliceous frustules) and exopolymeric substances (EPS) for innovative application in tissue regeneration (scaffolding) and drug delivery. (Roberta Congestri)
  • Nutraceutics and foods: enhancement of bioactive compounds, food and health security. Mechanisms involved in the antitumor response in in vitro and in vivo models. (Antonella Canini)
  • Identification and use of toxins for for the development of new diagnostic strategies of dislipidosi human. Many disorder such as Gaucher, Niemann-­‐Pick and Tay Sachs disease, are characterized by an incorrect lipid metabolism that involve the accumulation of different lipid classes in the endo-­‐lysosomal compartment. The analysis of these lipid classes covers a great importance for the diagnosis but is limited by the lack of adequate molecular probes able to distinguish the lipids in whole cells. In this context, some protein toxins represent unique tools to recognize specifically the lipids not only in vitro but also in living cells. (Stefano Rufini)