Collection MiAGR – Agricultural Microbiology section
The research group in Agricultural Microbiology deals with microbiological aspects of transformative processes that occur in natural environments or in situations that are not controlled, or in transformation processes conditioned by human intervention. The studies are aimed at acquiring knowledge subsequently used to address these transformations in order to obtain results considered positive from the environmental, food and agricultural point of view. They are frequently transversal studies, in the sense that they aim to reciprocally integrate the scientific competences present in the group to obtain useful information for the aforementioned purpose. The common approach, therefore, is a "supply chain" approach: what distinguishes the research philosophy of this group is the commitment to follow the processes considered from their origin (the "raw material" in the broad sense) up to the contact with the intended recipients (consumers or food producers, users of environmental remediation systems, etc.).
In the field of research on food, the group addresses both technological and microbiological aspects, in terms of food safety and the control of fermentation and / or transformation processes, with a view to optimizing them or predicting their progress. The matrices taken into consideration range from wine, cheese, sausages and vegetables subjected to different conservation methods.
The microorganisms stored at -80 ° C in glycerol derive from ecological studies of various microbial ecosystems, mainly of an agri-food nature, but an environmental component is not lacking. At the moment about yeasts isolated from fermentation of wine and cocoa, are conserved, lactic acid bacteria from dairy fermentation, vegetables, meat, acid and cocoa mixtures (among these there are some that can produce bacteriocins useful in the bioprotection approach, and others characterized in detail in vitro for their probiotic potential), acetic acid bacteria isolated from cocoa fermentations and bacteria and archea of environmental interest.
The collection undoubtedly represents an important biotechnological resource for companies in the food sector that produce fermented foods. The strains deposited in it, in some cases, have also been characterized from the physiological point of view and this is more frequently verified in the case of lactic acid bacteria from dairy environments and yeasts (both Saccharomyces and non-Saccharomyces) isolated during wine fermentation processes. The collection represents an excellent starting point for the selection of starter microorganisms to be used in specific food fermentation processes.
The research group is composed by Prof. Luca Simone Cocolin, responsible, by Dr. Kalliopi Rantisou and Paola Dolci, Associate Professors, Roberta Gorra, university researcher, and by Dr. Valentina Alessandria and Dr Ilario Ferrocino, university researchers with a fixed-term contract. The group is completed by Dr. Angelica Laera, currently a research fellow.