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Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita sede ex-Agraria

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2024 - Unexpected possible consequences of plastic packaging reuse [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F.

Reusable packaging is considered among the measures for achieving plastic waste reduction goals, however, some unexpected issues may arise with a shift from single-use to a reuse model for plastic packaging for industrial food applications, involving the hygienic and sensory spheres. Considerations are based on the diffusional properties of polymers leading to contamination with chemicals and to aroma scalping; the degradative effects of aging, of mechanical stress due to multiple use, and of the repeated sanitization with aggressive chemicals; the proneness of plastic surfaces to microbial film colonization. The reuse of plastic packages has the potential to increase the level of chemical contamination and of microplastic particles in foods, and could reduce product hygienic and sensory quality and standardization.

2023 - Assessment of the secondary shelf life of Bolognese sauce based on domestic use simulation [Articolo su rivista]
Nicosia, Carola; Mezza, Ivan; Pulvirenti, Andrea; Licciardello, Fabio

Household food waste contributes significantly to global food waste throughout the food supply chain, resulting in a substantial waste of resources. The inability of consumers to utilize food before it spoils generally leads to its disposal, thus representing one of the causes of food waste. The secondary shelf life (SSL) is the period a product should be consumed within once open, specified in the label, which sometimes is extremely short and may lead to a significant amount of discarded food. This study focuses on evaluating the SSL of Bolognese sauce through domestic use simulation and monitoring its microbiological and sensory quality, to explore the potential extension of the SSL, allowing consumers more time to consume the product. Results show that, even under harsh usage conditions, Bolognese sauce can have a SSL longer than 13 days, 2–3 times longer than the current SSL. The results highlight the influence of consumer behavior in determining the SSL, suggesting that improved food management could further reduce household food waste

2023 - Correction to: Waste Orange Peels as a Source of Cellulose Nanocrystals and Their Use for the Development of Nanocomposite Films (Foods, (2023), 12, 5, (960), 10.3390/foods12050960) [Articolo su rivista]
Bigi, F.; Maurizzi, E.; Haghighi, H.; Siesler, H. W.; Licciardello, F.; Pulvirenti, A.

: In the original publication [...].

2023 - Exploring the effects of hyperbaric storage on the optical, structural, mechanical and diffusional properties of food packaging materials [Articolo su rivista]
Basso, Federico; Feroce, Andrea; Manzocco, Lara; Licciardello, Fabio; Nicoli, MARIA CRISTINA

The effect of hyperbaric storage (HS) on food packaging materials was evaluated. PA/PE, PP/EVOH/PE, PET and PLA pouches filled with hydroethanolic simulant (D1) were stored at 0.1 and 200 MPa for up to 35 days and analyzed for optical, structural, mechanical and diffusional properties. HS weakened PLA seals, which easily failed after 7 days releasing the simulant. Both PET and PLA films swelled during HS, reducing PET physical ageing and PLA crystallinity. These structural effects caused PET and PLA mechanical properties to vary during HS, and a slight WVTR increase in PLA. Optical, structural and mechanical properties of multi-material films did not change upon HS. Nevertheless, both PA/PE and PP/EVOH/PE released critical amounts of adhesives after 7 and 35 days under pressure, respectively. Results indicate the critical role of the packaging material of foods intended for HS, and the need for its careful selection in future studies on the topic.

2023 - Shelf Life Extension and Nutritional Quality Preservation of Sour Cherries through High Pressure Processing [Articolo su rivista]
Tenuta, M. C.; Artoni, E.; Fava, P.; Bignami, C.; Licciardello, F.

The present study assessed the effectiveness of high pressure processing (HPP) for the quality maintenance of pitted sour cherries, with special regard to microbial stabilization and the maintenance of color and of chemical–nutritional properties. The HPP treatment (600 MPa for 3 min at 4 °C) was effective at minimizing the initial microbial load, which remained at negligible levels throughout 5 months of refrigerated storage. The color and total phytochemical content of sour cherries were not influenced by the HPP treatment and were maintained at levels comparable with the fresh product for 3 months of refrigerated storage. For longer storage periods, the typical red color decreased, in agreement with the content of total anthocyanins, which showed a significant decrease (up to 65% after 5 months). The antioxidant activity, measured by the ABTS and DPPH assays, was not affected by the HPP treatment, but slightly reduced during refrigerated storage. The study suggests that HPP may be exploited to extend the shelf life, while maintaining the fresh-like features of sour cherries, thus offering an alternative option to current preservation techniques (based on freezing or heating) commonly applied to this product.

2023 - Spirulina, A Sustainable Microorganism to Enrich Baked Goods with Precious Nutrients [Altro]
Montevecchi, G.; Santunione, G.; Masino, F.; Riggio, A.; Salani, L.; Panciroli, P.; Köker, Ö.; Faro, Lo; Licciardello, F.; Sgarbi, E.; Fava, P.; Antonelli, A.

2023 - Waste Orange Peels as a Source of Cellulose Nanocrystals and Their Use for the Development of Nanocomposite Films [Articolo su rivista]
Bigi, Francesco; Maurizzi, Enrico; Haghighi, Hossein; Siesler, Heinz Wilhelm; Licciardello, Fabio; Pulvirenti, Andrea

first_page settings Order Article Reprints Open AccessArticle Waste Orange Peels as a Source of Cellulose Nanocrystals and Their Use for the Development of Nanocomposite Films by Francesco Bigi 1 [ORCID] , Enrico Maurizzi 1 [ORCID] , Hossein Haghighi 1 [ORCID] , Heinz Wilhelm Siesler 2 [ORCID] , Fabio Licciardello 1,3 [ORCID] and Andrea Pulvirenti 1,3,* [ORCID] 1 Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 42015 Reggio Emilia, Italy 2 Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Duisburg-Essen, 45141 Essen, Germany 3 Interdepartmental Research Centre for the Improvement of Agri-Food Biological Resources (BIOGEST-SITEIA), University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 42015 Reggio Emilia, Italy * Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Foods 2023, 12(5), 960; Received: 19 January 2023 / Revised: 16 February 2023 / Accepted: 21 February 2023 / Published: 24 February 2023 (This article belongs to the Special Issue Scientific Breakthroughs to Fruit and Vegetable By-Product Valorization in Food Sector) Download Browse Figures Versions Notes Abstract To date, approximately 30–50% of food is wasted from post-harvesting to consumer usage. Typical examples of food by-products are fruit peels and pomace, seeds, and others. A large part of these matrices is still discarded in landfills, while a small portion is valorized for bioprocessing. In this context, a feasible strategy to valorize food by-products consists of their use for the production of bioactive compounds and nanofillers, which can be further used to functionalize biobased packaging materials. The focus of this research was to create an efficient methodology for the extraction of cellulose from leftover orange peel after juice processing and for its conversion into cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) for use in bionanocomposite films for packaging materials. Orange CNCs were characterized by TEM and XRD analyses and added as reinforcing agents into chitosan/hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (CS/HPMC) films enriched with lauroyl arginate ethyl (LAE). It was evaluated how CNCs and LAE affected the technical and functional characteristics of CS/HPMC films. CNCs revealed needle-like shapes with an aspect ratio of 12.5, and average length and width of 500 nm and 40 nm, respectively. Scanning electron microscopy and infrared spectroscopy confirmed the high compatibility of the CS/HPMC blend with CNCs and LAE. The inclusion of CNCs increased the films’ tensile strength, light barrier, and water vapor barrier properties while reducing their water solubility. The addition of LAE improved the films’ flexibility and gave them biocidal efficacy against the main bacterial pathogens that cause foodborne illness, such as Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella enterica.

2022 - Enrichment of wheat flour with Spirulina. Evaluation of thermal damage to essential amino acids during bread preparation [Articolo su rivista]
Montevecchi, Giuseppe; Santunione, Giulia; Licciardello, Fabio; Köker, Ömer; Masino, Francesca; Antonelli, Andrea

Microalgae and cyanobacteria represent a sustainable and valuable source of essential amino acids and bio-active molecules (e.g. poly-unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants) which, if added to staple food, could enrich its nutritional profile and the human diet. In this study, two different composite mixtures were obtained by adding different percentages (1% and 2%) of Spirulina powder to “Italian type 1” semi-whole wheat flour (W = 300) after which the chemical, physical, alveographic, and rheological parameters were subsequently analyzed. Spirulina powder did not cause drastic changes at the rheological level when added up to 2%. Furthermore, the concentration of proteins significantly increased in the samples enriched with 1% Spirulina (3.17%) and 2% Spirulina (5.12%), while at the same time the gluten content decreased by 5.62% and 7.41%, respectively. The total amount of essential amino acids in the samples enriched with 1% and 2% Spirulina (48,209 and 55,286 mgaa/kgDW, respectively), was higher in comparison with 45,433 mgaa/kgDW of the control, and those concentrations were maintained after the baking process. Spirulina powder confirmed the hypothesis of being able to improve the supply of essential amino acids that is lacking in wheat flour. The next steps include an investigation into the sensory and liking characteristics of the product.

2022 - Microbiota Survey of Sliced Cooked Ham During the Secondary Shelf Life [Articolo su rivista]
Spampinato, Gloria; Candeliere, Francesco; Amaretti, Alberto; Licciardello, Fabio; Rossi, Maddalena; Raimondi, Stefano

2022 - Secondary shelf life assessment of UHT milk and its potential for food waste reduction [Articolo su rivista]
Nicosia, Carola; Fava, Patrizia; Pulvirenti, Andrea; Licciardello, Fabio

A scientifically based assessment of the secondary shelf life (SSL) might help reducing food waste generation at the household level. The present study addressed the SSL of two UHT milk brands upon simulated domestic use and storage after the first opening. Microbiological, sensory and physico-chemical parameters were monitored during 16 days of domestic storage to determine the period after opening during which UHT milk is still suitable for consumption. According to specific microbial and sensory acceptability limits, results showed that UHT milk is suitable for consumption until 6–7 days after first opening, even when managed in the worst conditions. The SSL of UHT milk may be extended from the current 3–4 days to 6–7 days, according to a precautionary approach. The reassessment of the labeled SSL of staple foods, such as milk, will contribute to reduce domestic food wastes, to increase sustainability of the food industry and competitiveness of food companies.

2021 - Characterization of bio-nanocomposite films based on gelatin/polyvinyl alcohol blend reinforced with bacterial cellulose nanowhiskers for food packaging applications [Articolo su rivista]
Haghighi, Hossein; Gullo, Maria; La China, Salvatore; Pfeifer, Frank; Siesler, Heinz Wilhelm; Licciardello, Fabio; Pulvirenti, Andrea

Bacterial cellulose nanowhiskers (BCNW) were synthesized from Komagataeibacter xylinus (strain K2G30; UMCC 2756) using sulfuric acid hydrolysis and incorporated into a gelatin-polyvinyl alcohol (GL/PVA) blend film matrix. The effect of BCNW content (1–10 wt% of biopolymer) on the microstructural, mechanical, optical, and water barrier properties of bio-nanocomposites was studied. Transmission electron microscopy showed that BCNW had a needle shape morphology with an average length of 600 nm and an average width of 30 nm. The crystallinity index of BCNW was 94.7% using X-ray diffraction. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) illustrated good miscibility between GL/PVA blend film matrix and BCNW up to 7.5 wt%. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy in the attenuated total reflection mode showed molecular interactions between functional groups of the GL/PVA blend film matrix and BCNW. The incorporation of BCNW up to 7.5% into the GL/PVA blend reduced the water vapor transmission rate and water vapor permeability by about 22% and 14%, respectively, while tensile strength, elongation at break, and elastic modulus increased by about 21.5%, 41% and 19%, respectively (p <0.05). Films transparency was not affected by the addition of BCNW (p >0.05) suggesting that the BCNW were dispersed uniformly at the nanoscale. All films were colorless (ΔE*<2) with low opacity value (<2) comparable to synthetic plastics. Overall, the characterization of functional properties revealed that GL/ PVA blend film reinforced with BCNW could be used as an environmentally friendly packaging material to partially replace or reduce the use of current petroleum-based packaging materia

2021 - Characterization of chitosan-hydroxypropyl methylcellulose blend films enriched with nettle or sage leaf extract for active food packaging applications [Articolo su rivista]
Bigi, F.; Haghighi, H.; Siesler, H. W.; Licciardello, F.; Pulvirenti, A.

The incorporation of plant leaf extracts into biodegradable food packaging materials is a promising green approach to develop active films with antioxidant and antimicrobial activities. In this context, this study aimed to develop active films based on chitosan/hydroxypropyl methylcellulose blend (CS/HPMC) enriched with sage (SLE) and nettle (NLE) leaf extracts (7.5–15% w/w of biopolymer) to characterize their surface and cross-section morphology, optical, mechanical, water barrier, and antioxidant properties for food packaging applications. Scanning electron microscopy confirmed microstructural integrity and compatibility between CS and HPMC and incorporated leaf extracts. The successful incorporation of plant extracts was confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Active films showed improvement in UV–Vis light barrier properties (p < 0.05) with opacity value lower than five. Addition of leaf extracts induced a slightly darker color by inducing a green and yellow shade. Addition of NLE increased the water solubility and water vapor permeability compared to the control film (p < 0.05). Total phenolic content and antioxidant activity were increased upon addition of leaf extracts. Overall, CS/HPMC films incorporated with SLE and NLE could be employed as a green alternative for partial substitution of synthetic plastics with antioxidant activity and to prolong the shelf-life of food products.

2021 - Domestic Use Simulation and Secondary Shelf Life Assessment of Industrial Pesto alla genovese [Articolo su rivista]
Nicosia, Carola; Fava, Patrizia; Pulvirenti, Andrea; Antonelli, Andrea; Licciardello, Fabio

The secondary shelf life (SSL) is defined as the time after package opening during which the food product retains a required level of quality. The SSL, indicated in labels as “best if used within x days after opening”, could lead to domestic food waste if not correctly evaluated. In this context, the SSL of two brands of industrial shelf-stable pesto products (with an indicated SSL of 5 days) was studied through a domestic use simulation performed in five households under two scenarios simulating real opening and storage conditions. The quality of pesto after opening was assessed through microbiological and sensory analyses, determination of instrumental colour parameters, pH and volatiles profiling. For both pesto sauces tested, a SSL 20 days was proven. Irrespective of the intensity of use (scenarios 1 and 2), the pesto was microbiologically stable: the maximum count for total aerobic mesophilic bacteria (TMB) observed during 20 days of storage was 9.64 1.7 102 CFU/g, starting from a commercially stable product. Colour parameters L* and DE did not change significantly during storage (p > 0.05), while the a* and BI values significantly changed (p < 0.05) during the first 5 days, and then stabilized during the rest of the household storage. Nevertheless, the slight colour modifications were not perceived by the sensory panel. Moreover, sensory assessors were not able to discern pesto samples stored for up to 20 days after first opening, from a just-opened reference sample, proving that the sensory appreciation of pesto was not influenced by the time after opening. The results of this study suggest the possibility to significantly extend or even omit the SSL indications for industrial pesto sauces. The objective assessment of SSL could have impressive practical outcomes both for the industry and the end user. The elongation of the SSL on the food label might increase food sustainability, thanks to the potential reduction of food wastes, thus giving added value to the commercial products. In addition, the end user could benefit the increase of the useful period for the food consumption after first opening, with significant domestic food waste reduction, reduced household stock turnover and consequent cost savings.

2021 - Effects of light exposure, bottle colour and storage temperature on the quality of malvasia delle lipari sweet wine [Articolo su rivista]
Arena, E.; Rizzo, V.; Licciardello, F.; Fallico, B.; Muratore, G.

The influence of light exposure, bottle color and storage temperature on the quality parameters of Malvasia delle Lipari (MdL) sweet wine were investigated. Wine samples bottled in clear-colored (colorless, green and amber) glass were stored under different artificial lighting conditions, in order to simulate the retail environment (one cool-white, fluorescent lamp) and to perform an accelerated test (four and six cool-white, fluorescent lamps). The storage temperature was kept constant (25◦C) for the first 90 days of the experiment and then samples were monitored for up to 180 days at higher temperatures (30, 35 and 40◦C). The principal enological parameters, total phenols, color, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and 2-furaldehyde (2F) contents were studied. The shelf-life test pointed out minimum variations of the basic chemical parameters, while the quality attributes most affected by lighting were color, together with HMF and 2F levels which, hence, can be considered as indicators of the severity of storage conditions.

2021 - Fortification of wheat flour with black soldier fly prepupae. Evaluation of technological and nutritional parameters of the intermediate doughs and final baked products [Articolo su rivista]
Montevecchi, Giuseppe; Licciardello, Fabio; Masino, Francesca; Miron, Lucian T.; Antonelli, Andrea

Bread wheat flour presents specific nutrient deficiencies, such as some essential amino acids and this drawback could be tackled by adding ingredients that contain them in high amounts. Therefore, this study aims at developing new types of flours as well as at analysing enriched flours and baked derived products, which combine the compositional and sensory characteristics of wheat bread with some peculiar nutritional properties of black soldier fly prepupae (Hermetia illucens). These composite flours were obtained by mixing “Italian type 1” semi-whole wheat flour (W = 300) with flour obtained from prepupae of black soldier fly (20 g and 40 g/1 kg composite flour). Chemical, physical, and rheological analyses were carried out for each of the flour mixtures. Moisture, ash, gluten, total protein content, falling number, strength, tenacity, extensibility, amino acid profile of doughs and breads were analysed as well. An increase in the content of essential amino acids in doughs and baked products was obtained and also led to an improvement in bread texture.

2021 - Improvement of Paper Resistance against Moisture and Oil by Coatings with Poly(-3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) and Polycaprolactone (PCL) [Articolo su rivista]
Lo Faro, Emanuela; Menozzi, Camilla; Licciardello, Fabio; Fava, Patrizia

Surface hydrophobicity and grease resistance of paper may be achieved by the application of coatings usually derived from fossil-oil resources. However, poor recyclability and environmental concerns on generated waste has increased interest in the study of alternative paper coatings. This work focuses on the study of the performances offered by two different biopolymers, poly(3hydroxybutyrate-co-3hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) and polycaprolactone (PCL), also assessing the effect of a plasticizer (PEG) when used as paper coatings. The coated samples were characterized for the structural (by scanning electron microscopy, SEM), diffusive (water vapor and grease barrier properties), and surface properties (affinity for water and oil, by contact angle measurements). Samples of polyethylene-coated and fluorinated paper were used as commercial reference. WVTR of coated samples generally decreased and PHBV and PCL coatings with PEG at 20% showed interesting low wettability, as inferred from the water contact angles. Samples coated with PCL also showed increased grease resistance in comparison with plain paper. This work, within the limits of its lab-scale, offers interesting insights for future research lines toward the development of cellulose-based food contact materials that are fully recyclable and compostable.

2021 - Packaging solutions to extend the shelf life of green asparagus (Asparagus officinalis l.) ‘vegalim’ [Articolo su rivista]
Toscano, S.; Rizzo, V.; Licciardello, F.; Romano, D.; Muratore, G.

The aim of the study was to assess, through a comparative shelf-life test, the suitabil-ity of two packaging materials, namely macro-perforated polypropylene (PP MA) and microperforated coextruded polypropylene (PP C), for the quality preservation of green asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L. ‘Vegalim’). Quality of spears was evaluated during 30 days at refrigerated storage by monitoring chemical, physical, and enzymatic parameters as well as sensory descriptors. PP C kept headspace composition close to suggested values for fresh green asparagus. Total color dif-ference increased during the storage and it was highly correlated with chlorophyll-a and carotenoids, however, sensory color perception did not change significantly until 22 days of storage. PP C main-tained ascorbic acid concentrations close to the initial levels, limited total phenolic compound loss to 24% (45% in PP MA), determined an increase of 72% in fiber content and small changes in lignin value; enzymatic changes were significantly inhibited. Significant sensorial differences were detected after 22 days of storage, with PP C performing better than PP MA. PP C film was confirmed as the best choice, limiting weight loss and maintaining a fresh-like appearance during 30 days of storage, thus allowing an extension in postharvest life.

2021 - Suitability Assessment of PLA Bottles for High-Pressure Processing of Apple Juice [Articolo su rivista]
Cubeddu, Arianna; Fava, Patrizia; Pulvirenti, Andrea; Haghighi, Hossein; Licciardello, Fabio

2021 - Yeasts and Lactic Acid Bacteria for Panettone Production: An Assessment of Candidate Strains [Articolo su rivista]
De Vero, Luciana; Iosca, Giovanna; La China, Salvatore; Licciardello, Fabio; Gullo, Maria; Pulvirenti, Andrea

The recovery of yeasts and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) involved in sourdough fermentation is the first step in the selection of starters with suitable technological aptitude and capable of producing desired aromas and/or aromatic precursors. In this work, two sourdoughs samples (MA and MB) and the derived doughs (samples A and B) were collected from a bakery during artisanal Panettone manufacture. Yeasts and bacteria were isolated at different fermentation steps on selective agar media. A total of 77 isolates were obtained and characterized. Representative strains of yeasts and LAB were identified by sequencing the D1/D2 domain of the 26S rRNA and the 16S rRNA genes, respectively. Moreover, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced in the collected samples were detected and correlated to the species found in the same samples. The results highlighted the occurrence of Kazachstania humilis in both samples A and B, while Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains were detected only in samples B. Among LAB, Fructilactobacillus sanfranciscensis was the main species detected in both sourdoughs. Furthermore, strains belonging to the species Lactiplantibacillus plantarum, Furfurilactobacillus rossiae, Lactobacillus parabuchneri, Leuconostoc citreum, and Leuconostoc mesenteroides were assessed in the dough samples.

2020 - Development of antimicrobial films based on chitosan-polyvinyl alcohol blend enriched with ethyl lauroyl arginate (LAE) for food packaging applications [Articolo su rivista]
Haghighi, Hossein; KAMENI LEUGOUE, Serge; Pfeifer, Frank; Siesler, Heinz Wilhelm; Licciardello, Fabio; Fava, Patrizia; Pulvirenti, Andrea

The main aim of this study was to characterize microstructural, physical, optical, mechanical, water barrier and antimicrobial properties of chitosan-polyvinyl alcohol blend films (CS-PVA) enriched with ethyl lauroyl arginate (LAE) (1–10% w/v) for food packaging applications. The film microstructure was determined by scanning electron microscopy. Active films containing 10% LAE showed cracks on the surface with irregular shape in the cross-section indicating a weaker cohesion of the CS-PVA polymer blend at high LAE concentrations. The possible interaction of CS-PVA blend film with incorporated LAE was also investigated using Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy in the attenuated total reflection (ATR) mode. FT-IR/ATR spectra showed a low molecular interaction between the CS-PVA and LAE up to 2.5% while for films containing 5 and 10% LAE such interactions between the functional groups of the CS-PVA matrix and LAE have been detected. The active films were transparent and showed barrier properties against UV and visible light. The incorporation of LAE into the CS-PVA increased the thickness, water solubility, water vapor permeability, and the b* and ΔE* values, while it decreased mechanical properties and transparency (p < 0.05). Active films inhibited the growth of four major food bacterial pathogens including Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella typhimurium. Particularly, films containing 5 and 10% LAE were the most effective (p < 0.05). Overall, the characterization of functional properties revealed that CS-PVA blend film incorporated with LAE could be used as an environmentally friendly antimicrobial packaging material to extend the shelf life of food products.

2020 - Exploring the Microbial Community of Traditional Sourdoughs to Select Yeasts and Lactic Acid Bacteria [Articolo su rivista]
Iosca, Giovanna; Vero, Luciana De; Gullo, Maria; Licciardello, Fabio; Quartieri, Andrea; Pulvirenti, Andrea

Sourdoughs represent an awesome example of ecosystem in which yeasts and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) interact with each other, defining the characteristics of the final product in terms of composition, texture, taste and flavor. Therefore, the identification of dominant yeasts and LAB involved in the fermentation process can lead to the selection of starters with suitable fermentation aptitude and capable of producing desired aromas and/or aromatic precursors. In this work, two sourdoughs samples (A and B) for Panettone production were collected from an artisan bakery. Yeasts and bacteria were isolated at different fermentation steps on selective agar media. A total of 120 isolates were obtained and firstly characterized by conventional microbiological methods. Afterward, genomic DNA was extracted from the cultures, and (GTG)5-PCR fingerprinting analysis was carried out to reduce the redundance among the isolates. Representative yeasts and LAB strains, having a unique profile, were identified by sequencing the D1/D2 domain of the 26S rRNA and the 16S rRNA genes, respectively. The results highlighted the occurrence of Kazachstania humilis and Fructilactobacillus sanfranciscensis in both sourdoughs. Among LAB, also some other strains belonging to Lactobacillus genus were found. Moreover, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Staphylococcus spp. strains were detected in sample B. In this study, a pool of yeasts and LAB strains for producing starter cultures with specific technological traits for sourdoughs production was obtained.

2020 - Recent advances on chitosan-based films for sustainable food packaging applications [Articolo su rivista]
Haghighi, Hossein; Licciardello, Fabio; Fava, Patrizia; Siesler, Heinz Wilhelm; Pulvirenti, Andrea

The recent sharp increase of sensitivity towards environmental issues arising from plastic packaging has boosted interest towards alternative sustainable packaging materials. This new trend promotes the industrial exploitation of knowledge on chitosan-based films. Chitosan has been extensively investigated and used due to its unique biological and functional properties. However, inherent drawbacks including low mechanical properties and high sensitivity to humidity represent major limitations to its industrial applications, including food packaging. In the present study, the scientific literature of the last five years has been extensively reviewed (source: Web of Science) addressing chitosan-based films for their potential application in the food packaging industry. The contribution summarizes the various strategies adopted to overcome inherent drawbacks and improve the properties of chitosan-based films, with special regards for blending with natural and synthetic biopolymers.

2019 - Comprehensive characterization of active chitosan-gelatin blend films enriched with different essential oils [Articolo su rivista]
Haghighi, Hossein; Biard, Syméon; Bigi, Francesco; DE LEO, Riccardo; Bedin, Elisa; Pfeifer, Frank; Siesler, Heinz Wilhelm; Licciardello, Fabio; Pulvirenti, Andrea

Natural extracts and plant essential oils (EOs) have long been recognized as valid alternatives to synthetic food additives owing to their proved wide-spectrum antimicrobial capacity. The main aim of this study was to characterize the physical, mechanical, water barrier, microstructural and antimicrobial properties of chitosan-gelatin blend films enriched with cinnamon, citronella, pink clove, nutmeg and thyme EOs. The film microstructure determined by scanning electron microscopy, showed that all active films had heterogeneous surface: in particular, films including cinnamon, nutmeg and thyme EOs showed remarkable pores on the surface. The possible interaction of chitosan-gelatin blend film with incorporated EOs was investigated using Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Presence of new bands and changes in the FT-IR spectra confirmed intermolecular interactions between the chitosan-gelatin matrix and the EOs. The antimicrobial activity of films was determined using the disk diffusion assay. Active films inhibited the growth of four major food bacterial pathogens including Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella typhimurium and, among the tested EOs, thyme was the most effective (p < 0.05). The active films can be considered as effective barriers against UV light. The incorporation of EOs to the chitosan-gelatin film increased thickness, moisture content, water vapor permeability, b* and ΔE* values (p < 0.05) while it decreased L* value, light transparency and opacity (p < 0.05). Overall, the characterization of functional properties revealed that chitosan-gelatin films incorporated with EOs could be used as environmentally friendly active food packaging with antimicrobial properties and potential to extend the shelf-life of food products.

2019 - Features of chitosan-gelatin films loaded with plant extracts [Articolo su rivista]
Haghighi, H.; Siesler, H. W.; Licciardello, F.; Pulvirenti, A.

The main aim of this study was to characterize the physical, optical and antimicrobial properties of chitosan-gelatin blend films enriched with cinnamon, nutmeg and thyme essential oils. Microstructure determined by scanning electron microscopy showed that active films had heterogeneous surface. The presence of new bands and changes in the FTIR spectra confirmed intermolecular interactions between the chitosan-gelatin matrix and essential oils. The active films proved as effective barriers against UV light and inhibited the growth of four major food bacterial pathogens, showing potential as environmentally friendly antimicrobial packaging material.

2018 - Antimicrobial and antioxidant features of "Gabsi" pomegranate peel extracts [Articolo su rivista]
Kharchoufi, Samira; Licciardello, Fabio; Siracusa, Laura; Muratore, Giuseppe; Hamdi, Mokthar; Restuccia, Cristina

The work aimed at optimizing the extraction protocol of "Gabsi" pomegranate peel (PP) and evaluating the total phenol content and profile, antioxidant activity and antimicrobial effect of the extracts obtained. Water and methanol as solvents were compared at different peel/solvent ratios; three different temperatures were also compared for the water extraction. Methanol pomegranate peel extract (MPPE) and water extracts (WPPE) were analysed for their DPPH antioxidant activity and polyphenol profile and content by HPLC/DAD and HPLC/MS. Different concentrations of MPPE and WPPE (ranging from 0.061 to 0.304 and from 0.072 to 0.361 g dry extract/mL, respectively) were also tested in vitro against Penicillium digitatum, Pseudomonas putida and Saccharomyces cerevisiae to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). The MPPE and WPPE had comparable antioxidant activity (4081.43 and 3497.02 mmol Trolox/g, respectively). Hydrolysable tannins represented the main polyphenols in pomegranate peel, with punicalagin as the major compound. In general, MPPE dilutions tested in well-diffusion assays were more effective against targeted microorganisms compared with WPPE; indeed, only the highest WPPE concentration, was able to inhibit the growth of targeted microrganisms. Viability tests in liquid medium confirmed the highest antimicrobial capacity of MPPE, although even the WPPE was able to reduce P. putida and S. cerevisiae populations by up to 3.15 and 2.52 log CFU/mL, respectively.

2018 - Contribution of blood orange-based beverages to bioactive compounds intake [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F.; Arena, E.; Rizzo, V.; Fallico, B.

The study aimed at screening the levels of ascorbic acid, hydroxycinnamic acids (HCAs) and total anthocyanins in commercial beverages containing blood orange juice (BOJ), estimating the contribution of these products to the intake of health-promoting compounds and at discussing the actual value of the products on a price/bioactive level basis. Results demonstrate that the reference to BOJ in many beverages is misleading, as inferred from the very low bioactive levels observed. These beverages, in label should refer as "water-based" instead of "fruit-based beverage." Accordingly, the intake of bioactives from BOJ-based beverages, with the exception of ascorbic acid used in the most cases as preservative, is often very low. The intake of bioactive components from blood orange consumption is much higher compared to the consumption of BOJ-based beverages, hence the consumption of blood oranges and 100% BOJs should be preferred in order to guarantee the intake of a rich pool of bioactive compounds. Finally, the market value of BOJ-based beverages is not correlated with their real nutritional value: the relative unitary cost of the three classes of bioactive compounds considered increased in the order: fresh blood oranges < 100% BOJ < BOJ-based beverages. Hence, the consumption of fresh blood oranges represents the cheapest way to ensure the intake of health-promoting bioactive compounds such as anthocyanins and HCAs.

2018 - Edible coatings incorporating pomegranate peel extract and biocontrol yeast to reduce Penicillium digitatum postharvest decay of oranges [Articolo su rivista]
Kharchoufi, S.; Parafati, L.; Licciardello, F.; Muratore, G.; Hamdi, M.; Cirvilleri, G.; Restuccia, C.

This study investigated the potential use of two edible coatings, chitosan (CH) and locust bean gum (LBG), which incorporated chemically characterized water pomegranate peel extract (WPPE) or methanol pomegranate peel extract (MPPE) and the biocontrol agent (BCA) Wickerhamomyces anomalus, to control the growth of Penicillium digitatum and to reduce the postharvest decay of oranges. CH and LBG including pomegranate peel extracts (PPEs) at different concentrations were tested in vitro against P. digitatum to determine their antifungal efficacy; at the same time, the tolerance of viable cells of W. anomalus to increasing concentrations of WPPE and MPPE extracts was assessed. The potential application of selected bioactive coatings was evaluated in vivo on oranges, which had been artificially inoculated with P. digitatum, causal agent of green mold decay. CH incorporating MPPE or WPPE at all concentrations was able to inhibit in vitro P. digitatum, while LBG was active only at the highest MPPE or WPPE concentrations. W. anomalus BS91 was slightly inhibited only by MPPE-modified coatings, while no inhibition was observed by WPPE, which was therefore selected for the in vivo trials on oranges artificially inoculated with P. digitatum. The experimental results proved that the addition of 0.361 g dry WPPE/mL, both to CH and LBG coatings, significantly reduced disease incidence (DI) by 49 and 28% respectively, with respect to the relative controls. Besides the combination CH or LBG + WPPE, the addition of W. anomalus cells to coatings strengthened the antifungal effect with respect to the relative controls, as demonstrated by the significant reduction of DI (up to 95 and 75% respectively). The findings of the study contribute to the valorization of a value-added industrial byproduct and provide a significant advancement in the development of new food protectant formulations, which benefit from the synergistic effect between biocontrol agents and natural bioactive compounds.

2018 - Effect of Cynara cardunculus extract on the shelf life of aubergine burgers [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mazzaglia, A.; Licciardello, F.; Aurelio, S.; Muratore, G.; Giovanni, M.; Restuccia, C.

Vegetable burger is a convenient processed food product exclusively prepared from non-meat ingredients. This research was intended to improve the shelf life of aubergine burgers with the addition of Cynara cardunculus extract characterized by a considerable presence of bioactive compounds. Two concentrations of extract were used for the preparation of aubergine burgers. Burger samples without Cynara cardunculus extract were prepared as control. Microbial load and sensory changes of vacuum-packed aubergine burgers were analyzed after 1 day, 30 days and 105 days of cold storage. The microbiological analyses were carried out during the shelf life test. The sensory profile method was used to measure any change in the sensory characters of samples, as a result of Cynara cardunculus extract treatment. Microbial growth observed values did not exceed the recommended limit, in particular yeasts were absent. The best sensory results were for samples prepared with 3% of Cynara cardunculus extract, especially on the attributes off-odour, off-flavour and overall. The control sample and the sample prepared with 1% of extract presented a low intensity of colour and firmness.

2018 - Effect of edible coating combined with pomegranate peel extract on the quality maintenance of white shrimps (Parapenaeus longirostris) during refrigerated storage [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F.; Kharchoufi, S.; Muratore, G.; Restuccia, C.

The present study aimed at assessing the potential of edible coatings based on chitosan (Ch) and locust bean gum (LBG) incorporating pomegranate peel extract (PPE) to maintain quality of shrimps during cold storage. Firstly, the study evaluated different PPE concentrations applied to Ch and LBG against Pseudomonas putida in vitro. Then, in vivo trials were carried out on headed and peeled shrimps coated with Ch and LBG incorporating the most effective PPE level, to evaluate the effect during storage of different coatings on Pseudomonas spp., total psychrotrophic bacteria counts, total volatile basic nitrogen (TVB-N) and visual color as quality indexes. Results proved the effective synergy of PPE with Ch at reducing microbial spoilage during storage: indeed, Ch incorporating PPE was able to reduce the Pseudomonas spp. count by about 2 log units and to maintain the psychrotrophic microbial load below 7 CFU/g for 6 days. In addition, after 6 days, TVB-N levels in shrimps coated with Ch incorporating PPE were as low as the values recorded in the control samples after 2 days.

2018 - Energy and environmental assessment of a traditional durum-wheat bread [Articolo su rivista]
Ingrao, Carlo; Licciardello, Fabio; Pecorino, Biagio; Muratore, Giuseppe; Zerbo, Antonio; Messineo, Antonio

This study was designed and developed to investigate the bread sector, by addressing the environmental issues associated with the supply chain of ‘Pagnotta del Dittaino’, a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) durum wheat bread produced in the central-east area of Sicily. In particular, the study discusses the application of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to highlight the most significant and representative environmental impacts for this bread production system. Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) and Carbon Footprint (CF) were also estimated to address the usage of primary-energy sources and the emissions of GreenHouse Gases (GHGs). Cultivation is the system hotspot, mostly because of the production of urea and diammonium phosphate, and of the agricultural activities. Significant contributions arise from ammonia volatilisation and nitrous oxide emission due to mineral fertilisation, affecting ‘Human health’ and ‘Climate Change’. ‘Resources’ were impacted by the non-renewable energy use (natural gas and crude oil) which, in turn, is due to the production and transport of fertilisers and to the agricultural activities. Additionally, the CED-analysis highlighted the important contribution made by the use of biomass energy, as a consequence of the energy sequestered by the plant during growth. CO2resulted to be the most relevant and representative GHG in this food system. The study contributes to the subject knowledge and literature, and can be of interest for researchers, LCA practitioners, farmers and producers, policy makers and other stakeholders, and could support the implementation of environmental labels.

2018 - Integrated agronomical and technological approach for the quality maintenance of ready-to-fry potato sticks during refrigerated storage [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, Fabio; Lombardo, Sara; Rizzo, Valeria; Pitino, Iole; Pandino, Gaetano; Strano, Maria Gabriella; Muratore, Giuseppe; Restuccia, Cristina; Mauromicale, Giovanni

The paper addresses the effect of nitrogen fertilization rate, storage time, packaging film and locust bean gum (LBG)-based edible coating on the quality maintenance of fresh-cut ready-to-fry potato sticks. Quality change was assessed monitoring color and firmness, microbiological parameters and content of bioactive components. Results demonstrate that the highest (280 kg ha−1) nitrogen fertilization rate determines rapid color changes, lower firmness and faster microbial (total mesophilic bacteria and yeasts and molds) growth. Similarly, excess in nitrogen fertilization rate determines lower ascorbic acid levels and a faster loss of nutritional value during storage, while the LBG coating was effective at reducing color changes and microbial growth. Results highlight the need for accurate management of nitrogen fertilization in order to obtain high quality fresh-cut potato sticks, and point out that excess nitrogen fertilization levels enhance the proneness to physical, microbial and nutritional changes.

2018 - Measures to prevent stress corrosion cracking of aluminum cans for carbonated beverages [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Licciardello, F.; Rizzo, V.; Coriolani, C.; Volo, M.; Muratore, G.

Common containers for carbonated beverages are PET bottles and aluminum cans. These different materials are chosen based on marketing and convenience reasons. While the shelf life of carbonated beverages packed in PET bottles is affected by the CO2 permeation through the polymer matrix, aluminum cans allow the gas retention and guarantee a higher quality during storage. Indeed, the shelf life of canned carbonated beverages is commonly ≥1 year. While the longer commercial life is an advantage from a commercial point of view, it increases the probability of occurrence of failure due to corrosion. Stress Corrosion Cracking (SCC) occurring from the outside of the can would prejudice the integrity of the container, provoke the product loss and, what is probably worst, could determine a chain-effect on other adjacent cans if the product is spilled from the damaged can. Normally, aluminum cans are internally lacquered for protecting the metal from corrosion by the food components. Chlorine from the conditioning water bath and storage environmental moisture determines the onset of SSC, while temperature and internal gas pressure speed up the failure of cans. This study aimed at evaluating the potential of a supplementary outer enamel for preventing stress corrosion cracking, and proved that this measure, which does not imply significant process changes or supplementary costs, could effectively reduce the risk of product loss, with consequent need for damaged products withdraw and disposal, and prejudice for the image of the producer.

2018 - Properties of poly(vinyl alcohol) films as determined by thermal curing and addition of polyfunctional organic acids [Articolo su rivista]
Bellelli, Massimo; Licciardello, Fabio; Pulvirenti, Andrea; Fava, Patrizia

The aim of the study was to assess the effect of the addition of citric and malic acid and heat curing on the mechanical, physical and optical properties of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVOH) films. The addition of the organic acids without successive thermal treatments has a mere plasticising effect, while their application with heat curing has a combined crosslinking and plasticising effect. While conventional plasticizers and crosslinkers improve either extensibility or tensile strength of films, respectively, the addition of citric and malic acid coupled with heat curing determined good tensile strength and extensibility. Hydrophilicity was significantly reduced by thermal curing and even further reduced with the organic acids addition. The high transparency of the PVOH films was not affected either by heat-curing, acid addition and their combination, while the use of high curing temperature coupled with acid addition caused a slight yellowing of the films. The use of citric and malic acid in combination with thermal curing is a viable strategy for tailoring the performances of PVOH films thus broadening their spectrum of application.

2018 - Shelf life assessment of green asparagus packaged in polypropylene macro-perforated and micro-perforated [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Rizzo, V.; Chiella, G.; Licciardello, F.; Toscano, S.; Romano, D.; Muratore, G.

The very short shelf-life of asparagus (Asparagus officinalis, L.) is mainly related to its high respiratory activity which continues after harvesting. The perishable nature of the product poses the challenge to develop effective storage methods to extend its post-harvest life. The loss of quality is mainly perceived by consumers in the wrinkling of stems, hardening, loss of the green colour and brightness. The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of green asparagus ('Vegalim') packaged in polypropylene macro-perforated with a piercing density of 7 holes/cm2 and micro-perforated coextruded PP with a row of central holes spaced each 3 cm having an oxygen transmission rate of 38800 cc/m2. The quality evaluation of asparagus was assessed by measuring changes in the main physical-chemical parameters and by visually monitoring the product, during a period of 32 days of cold storage. Weight loss, instrumental texture and colour degradation were measured. Data were analysed with a specific testing software. Image analysis was performed. The weight loss of the samples, which is mainly due to moisture loss, was 16% in macro-perforated film, while it was negligible in micro-perforated film (mean value 0.4%). Maximum shear force and cutting energy were measured cutting asparagus spears into three parts: tip (0-6 cm, measured from the apex of the spear), middle portion (6-12 cm) and base (12-18 cm). For samples packaged in the macro-perforated film, hardness increased in all three parts throughout the experimental period. Shear force of the middle portion of samples packaged in micro-perforated film did not change during the 32 days of the experiment. Hue and Chroma were similar in both samples. The shelf life of refrigerated green asparagus could be extended to 32 days with packaging in micro-perforated film. In literature temperatures of 5°C were considered adequate for keeping the shelf life of asparagus about 11-14 days, it is relevant how the utilization of the correct plastic film to wrap asparagus is the goal for any companies producing this vegetable to significantly extend their marketability.

2018 - Sous-vide packaging: Sensory characteristics of potato slices treated with rosemary essential oil [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Amoroso, L.; Rizzo, V.; Mazzaglia, A.; Licciardello, F.; Restuccia, C.; Muratore, G.

Fresh-cut potatoes, already peeled, cut and packed, meet a growing favour of consumers, thanks to their high added value simplifying their use and consumption, both at home and in the food service industry. Sous vide is a combined technique used for raw or partially cooked food sources, packaged under vacuum. The request from consumers to reduce or eliminate the synthetic chemical additives, suggested to try natural alternatives such as essential oils (EOs), nowadays these compounds are frequently used, often through dipping techniques. On the basis of studies carried out, it was considered that the rosemary essential oil (EO) was the most appropriate and kindred with the preparation of fresh-cut sliced potatoes. The objective of this study was to evaluate the preserving effect of 0.5 % (w/v) rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) EO on physical, sensory and microbiological properties in fresh-cut sliced potatoes packaged in sous vide bags and stored for 12 days at +4 ± 2°C. A sample treated equally, but without EO, was packed in sous vide and stored at the same conditions and kept as control. Color change was measured through Image-Pro® Plus 7.0 software; sensory and microbiological analysis was carried out during the shelf life test. EO addition significantly reduced mesophilic bacteria and Enterobacteriaceae counts over the considered period. The sensory profile method UNI 10957 (2003) was used to measure any change in the sensory characters of samples, as a result of rosemary EO treatment. The best sensory results were for samples treated with EO, statistically significant results were observed on the descriptors sour and floury. HSI (hue, saturation, intensity) describes colors as like as they are perceived by human eyes, suggesting changes in color as browning index. The Hue value did not change during the 12 days of storage, for control slices as for slices treated with EO. Joint use of dipping in EO, sous-vide technology and refrigerated condition allowed to obtain a value-added product, safe, ready to cook, with appreciable characteristics for consumers.

2018 - The effect of sous vide packaging with rosemary essential oil on storage quality of fresh-cut potato [Articolo su rivista]
Rizzo, V.; Amoroso, L.; Licciardello, F.; Mazzaglia, A.; Muratore, G.; Restuccia, C.; Lombardo, S.; Pandino, G.; Strano, M. G.; Mauromicale, G.

Selection of suitable raw materials and technologies are essential for the fresh-cut segment, since they represent key factors to be competitive in the modern markets. This study aimed at assessing the suitability of six early potato cultivars, grown in an experimental field, for minimal processing. In particular, the sous vide packaging method, in association with rosemary essential oil (REO), was evaluated as a strategy for the quality preservation of sliced potatoes. Physical, mechanical, chemical, microbiological and sensory characteristics were monitored in order to estimate qualitative changes of the product over refrigerated storage. Results demonstrated that the synergic use of REO and sous vide packaging had a positive effect on texture, and limited the growth of mesophilic bacteria and Enterobacteriaceae over the storage period; it also ensured a certain retention of ascorbic acid, total polyphenol content, and antioxidant activity. Hence, the proposed technological strategy could represent a valid solution for the preservation of sliced potatoes, contributing to limit, for the most suitable cultivars identified as Fontane and Marabel, the quality decrease until 11 days of cold storage.

2017 - Application of preservation strategies to improve the shelf life of spreadable cheese [Articolo su rivista]
Costa, C; Lucera, A; Licciardello, F; Conte, A; Del Nobile, Ma

Strategies designed to protract the shelf life of spreadable cheese obtained by acid coagulations are presented. First, the effectiveness of different headspace CO2 and N2 mixtures on the microbial and sensorial characteristics of the investigated produce was addressed; afterward, the modified atmosphere showing the best performances was combined with different antimicrobial compounds (lysozyme and Na2-EDTA; MicroGARD®400; potassium sorbate). Headspace gas concentration, pH, sensory quality, dairy spoilage microorganisms and lactic microflora were monitored. The work results suggest that CO2 at every tested concentration negatively influence the taste of spreadable cheese, while the best performances were recorded for samples packaged under 100% nitrogen that was able to control yeasts and moulds development. The most effective solution to increase the shelf life of spreadable cheese was obtained by the combination of lysozyme and Na2-EDTA with the selected MAP, 100% nitrogen, allowing to reach a shelf life of about 26 days confronted to the control samples (6 days).

2017 - Effect of nitrogen fertilisation on the overall quality of minimally processed globe artichoke heads [Articolo su rivista]
Lombardo, S.; Restuccia, C.; Muratore, G.; Barbagallo, R. N.; Licciardello, F.; Pandino, G.; Scifo', G. O.; Mazzaglia, A.; Ragonese, F.; Mauromicale, G.

Background: Although nitrogen (N) fertilisation is essential for promoting crop yield, it may also affect the produce quality. Here, the influence of three N fertiliser rates (0kgha-1 as a control, 200kgha-1 and 400kgha-1 referred to as N0, N200 and N400 , respectively) on the overall quality of minimally processed globe artichoke heads was investigated during refrigerated storage for 12 days. Results: Throughout the storage time, N fertilised samples had higher inulin contents than those unfertilised. In addition, the respiratory quotient of N200 and N400 samples was 2-fold and 2.5-fold lower than N0 ones, whose values were close to the normal range for vegetables. All the samples reported good microbiological standards, although N200 and N400 achieved lower mesophilic and psychotropic counts than N0 throughout the storage time. After 8 and 12 days of refrigerated storage, the N200 samples showed the highest scores of positive sensory descriptors. Conclusion: A fertiliser level of 200kgNha-1 is suitable for obtaining minimally processed globe artichoke heads with good nutritional, sensory and microbiological quality, characterised by low endogenous oxidase activities. Proper packaging systems and procedures are, however, crucial for extending the product shelf-life and, thus, promoting its exportation on a wider scale.

2017 - Packaging, blessing in disguise. Review on its diverse contribution to food sustainability [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F

Background Packaging has been blamed for representing one of the highest environmental impacts in food productions. Although it cannot be denied that packages, with special regards for materials production, processing and disposal, carry some impact, other aspects should be considered for an objective assessment of packaging environmental role. Scope and approach The paper, through a survey of specific literature, aims to estimate the actual relative impact of packaging with respect to the overall food products environmental load, to present an overview on the ongoing efforts spent for making packaging more sustainable and the packaging-product system more efficient and to highlight the novel positive consideration that food packaging should receive. Special focus has been addressed to the recent contributions which have correlated food waste reduction, achieved through packaging innovations, with an overall environmental improvement. Key findings and conclusions Considerations based on the packaging relative environmental impact and on the potential of suitable innovations to reduce food wastes, lead to a broader concept of sustainable packaging and should drive future strategies for sustainability improvement. Packaging reduction and a shift to alternative materials and/or technologies should be especially addressed for products characterized by a high packaging relative impact; vice versa, when packaging represents a low burden compared to other life cycle phases, the overall environmental performance will be improved with measures aimed at reducing food waste, which, in turn, could imply an affordable increase in the packaging impact.

2017 - Quality traits of ready-to-use globe artichoke slices as affected by genotype, harvest time and storage time. Part I: Biochemical and physical aspects [Articolo su rivista]
Pandino, G.; Barbagallo, R. N.; Lombardo, S.; Restuccia, C.; Muratore, G.; Licciardello, F.; Mazzaglia, A.; Ricceri, J.; Pesce, G. R.; Mauromicale, G.

Minimally processed globe artichoke products are not widespread due to rapid biochemical and enzymatic damage. This article reports a study concerning the shelf life of ready-to-use globe artichoke slices based on principal traits, including phytochemicals content, polyphenol oxidase activity, antioxidant activity and colour parameters. These traits were monitored, during 11 days of storage at 4 °C, for globe artichoke slices of three genotypes (‘Apollo’, ‘Exploter’ and ‘Spinoso di Palermo’). Significant variations due to genotype, harvest time, storage time and their interactions were found. For example, harvest time markedly affected the level of considered biochemical parameters. Results demonstrate that genotype and harvest time are key factors for the extension of the shelf life of globe artichoke slices, but a compromise among nutritional values can be achieved for ‘Apollo’ and ‘Spinoso di Palermo’. The comparison among the three genotypes analyzed support the conclusion that ‘Exploter’ presents the best properties for a commercial use as “minimally processed vegetable” (MPV). Furthermore, these results suggest that ready-to-use globe artichoke slices maintained high nutritional quality and colour parameters for at least 7 days of storage.

2017 - Quality traits of ready-to-use globe artichoke slices as affected by genotype, harvest time and storage time. Part II: Physiological, microbiological and sensory aspects [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F.; Pandino, G.; Barbagallo, R. N.; Lombardo, S.; Restuccia, C.; Muratore, G.; Mazzaglia, A.; Strano, M. G.; Mauromicale, G.

The microbiological, physiological and sensory characteristics of ready-to-use globe artichoke slices subjected to a shelf life study are reported. The traits of three genotypes (‘Apollo’, ‘Exploter’ and ‘Spinoso di Palermo’), grown in an experimental field, were monitored for 11 d at 4 °C. Significant variations due to genotype, harvest time, storage time and their interactions were found. The selected packaging system allowed the generation of a passive atmosphere, which did not affect the produce metabolism. Microbial populations, with the exception of yeasts and moulds, did not exceed the limits suggested for minimally processed vegetables. Sliced artichoke heads from early and late harvests showed a shelf life of 11 and 7 d, respectively. The ‘Exploter’ proved to be the most suitable genotype for minimal processing as it received the highest overall sensory score at the end of the storage period.

2017 - Shelf life assessment of industrial durum wheat bread as a function of packaging system [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F.; Giannone, V.; Del Nobile, M. A.; Muratore, G; Summo, C.; Giarnetti, M.; Caponio, F.; Paradiso, V. M.; Pasqualone, A.

This study compared the effect of different packaging systems on industrial durum wheat bread shelf-life, with regard to thermoformed packaging (TF) and flow-packaging (FP). Two TFs having different thickness and one FP were compared by assessing physico-chemical and sensorial properties and volatile compounds of sliced bread during 90 days of storage. Texture, aw and bread moisture varied according to a first-order kinetic model, with FP samples ageing faster than TFs. Sensorial features such as consistency, stale odor, and sour odor, increased their intensity during storage. Furans decreased, whereas hexanal increased. The Principal Component Analysis of the whole dataset pointed out that the TF system at reduced thickness could be adopted up to 60 days, without compromising the standard commercial life of industrial bread and allowing to save packaging material. The FP system would allow further saving, but it should be preferred when the expected product turnover is within 30 days.

2017 - Volatile profiling of durum wheat kernels by HS-SPME/GC-MS [Articolo su rivista]
Mattiolo, E; Licciardello, F; LOMBARDO G., M; Muratore, G; Anastasi, U

This work aimed at developing a HS–SPME/GC–MS method for the extraction and analysis of volatile compounds from the kernels of durum wheat. Fiber coating, temperature and time of extraction were evaluated. Moreover, the method was used as a tool for varietal characterization. The qualitative and semi-quantitative characterization of the volatile fraction of durum wheat kernels highlighted 11 different chemical classes, alcohols and aldehydes prevailing over acids, alkanes, aromatic and heterocyclic hydrocarbons. Concerning the comparison among the studied durum wheat kernel cultivars, Sculptur was the one with the highest amount and variability of volatile compounds. This cultivar stood out for the highest level of alkanes and ketones, while Anco Marzio contained higher levels of aldehydes and alkenes. The optimized method allowed for the qualitative and semi-quantitative characterization of the volatile fraction of durum wheat kernels, and it was effective at differentiating durum wheat cultivars based on their different volatile profiles, representing a potential tool for varietal selection and for the exploitation of specific durum wheat cultivars.

2016 - SLIM 2015 Shelf-life International Meeting Vimercate (MB), 21-23 October 2015 INTRODUCTION [Curatela]
Buonocore, G; Licciardello, F; Piergiovanni, L

2015 - Active coatings against dates fungal decay [Articolo su rivista]
Aloui, H; Khwaldia, K; Licciardello, F; Mazzaglia, A; Muratore, G; Restuccia, C

Biodegradable coatings based on chitosan incorporating either bergamot or bitter orange EOs at different concentrations were evaluated against Aspergillus flavus, under in vitro conditions, in terms of mycelium growth and spore germination inhibition, and under in vivo conditions on inoculated dates, stored at 20°C. Sensory analysis was carried out to evaluate the effect of the different coating treatments on the flavour and odour characteristics of the treated fruits. Combined treatments based on CH-2% (v/v) bergamot EO or CH-2% (v/v) bitter orange EO proved to be the most effective coatings to reduce conidial germination resulting in a 87-90% inhibition compared with the control. In fruit decay assays, coatings based on CH incorporating citrus oils were able to reduce fungal decay in the range of 52-62% at day 12.

2015 - Aloe vera extract as a promising treatment for the quality maintenance of minimally-processed table grapes [Articolo su rivista]
Alberio, G. R. A.; Muratore, G; Licciardello, F.; Giardina, G.; Spagna, G.

The effect of an edible film obtained from a commercial Aloe vera extract, on the quality maintenance of minimally processed grapes belonging to three different cultivars (Sugar One, Victoria and Black Magic) was evaluated by enzymatic (PPO, PME, β-GAL), physicochemical (pH, acidity, °Brix), and sensorial methods. All the analyzed parameters were measured in extracts obtained from minimally processed grapes packaged in ordinary atmosphere and stored at 4 °C for 15 days. Samples dipped into Aloe vera showed significant differences (p≤0.05) compared to untreated ones. The determination of such parameters and the evaluation of consumer acceptability were helpful to determine the effectiveness of the post-harvest treatment with Aloe vera for a storage period of 15 days. © 2015, Sociedade Brasileira de Ciencia e Tecnologia de Alimentos, SBCTA. All rights reserved.

2015 - Effect of cultivar x ozone treatment interaction on the total polyphenols content and antioxidant activity of globe artichoke [Articolo su rivista]
Lombardo, S.; Pandino, G.; Restuccia, C.; Muratore, G; Licciardello, F.; Mauro, R. P.; Pesce, R.; Mauromicale, G.

Two globe artichoke cultivars (Violet de Provence and Apollo) were harvested at an experimental field in Sicily, immediately washed with ozonised water and stored in: i) normal atmosphere; ii) ozone-enriched atmosphere for 3 days and for the last 4 days in normal atmosphere; iii) ozone-enriched atmosphere for 7 days. A control (samples unwashed and stored at room temperature) was also investigated. The effect of cultivar x ozone treatment interaction on water content losses, total polyphenols content and antioxidant activity was evaluated after 0, 3 and 7 days of storage. Washing with ozonised water and storage under O3-enriched atmosphere allowed higher water retention compared with the control, especially for Violet de Provence. After 3 days of storage in ozone-enriched atmosphere, on average of cultivars, the total polyphe-nols content and antioxidant activity increased by 11.7% and 5.5%, respectively. By contrast, after further 4 days of storage in ozonised atmosphere, Apollo and Violet de Provence displayed a significant reduction in their level of total polyphenols and aantioxidant activity. The exposure of globe artichoke heads to an ozone-enriched atmosphere should not exceed 3 days aimed at preserving their high nutritional value, with special emphasis on total polyphenols content.

2015 - Effect of packaging film and antibrowning solution on quality maintenance of minimally processed globe [Articolo su rivista]
Muratore, G; Restuccia, C.; Licciardello, F.; Lombardo, S.; Pandino, G.; Mauromicale, G.

The effects of three different packaging materials (macroperforated, microperforated and non-perforated films) in combination with an antibrowning solution (containing 1.0% ascorbic acid and 0.2% citric acid) on the qualitative traits of minimally processed globe artichoke heads (cvs. 'Violet de Provence' and 'Tema 2000') were studied during refrigerated storage for 16 days. Results highlighted that the heads treated with the antibrowning solution and packaged in the microperforated and non-perforated films maintained better qualitative attributes (i.e.; lower microbial growth, moderate respiration rate and browning degree, higher total polyphenol content and antioxidant activity) than those not treated with the antibrowning solution and packaged in the macroperforated film. 'Tema 2000' displayed better performances in terms of browning degree and antioxidant activity, as well as lower bacterial count values, than 'Violet de Provence'. However, the choice of a proper packaging film is crucial for extending the shelf life of minimally processed globe artichoke heads. Industrial relevance The fresh heads of globe artichoke are a well-known source of healthy compounds (mainly polyphenols), but the tedious culinary preparation limits their fresh consumption to the original area of cultivation (i.e.; Mediterranean basin). Minimal processing could, therefore, ease its consumption on a wider scale, but may also result in a more perishable product. Hence, with the aim to improve the current knowledge on the qualitative maintenance of minimally processed globe artichoke heads, we examined the effects of three packaging films in combination with an antibrowning solution on physical, physiological, chemical and microbiological traits of two cultivars during refrigerated storage. Our results demonstrated the effectiveness of the micro-perforated and non-perforated films to reduce microbial growth and enhance the total polyphenol content, especially for the heads treated with the antibrowning solution. It was also shown that the cultivar choice should be considered as crucial in order to preserve the overall quality of the product. Finally, from an industrial standpoint, this study provides relevant data for extending product shelf life through a proper packaging procedure and, hence, promoting the exportation of minimally processed globe artichoke heads on a wider scale.

2015 - Influence of an O3-atmosphere storage on microbial growth and antioxidant contents of globe artichoke as affected by genotype and harvest time [Articolo su rivista]
Lombardo, S.; Restuccia, C.; Pandino, G.; Licciardello, F.; Muratore, G; Mauromicale, G.

We investigated the effects of storage at 4 °C under ozone-enriched atmospheres onmicrobiological quality and antioxidant content of three globe artichoke cultivars ('Violet de Provence','Tema 2000' and 'Apollo'), harvested at different times (winter, early-spring, late-spring), immediatelytreated under real industrial operation conditions and analysed after 0, 3 and 7 days of storage.Response of cultivars to postharvest treatments strictly depended upon harvest time. The reduction ofboth mesophilic bacteria and yeasts and moulds was significant in heads stored under ozone-enrichedatmosphere for 3 or 7 days with major reductions for 'Tema 2000' and 'Apollo' harvested in winter andearly-spring, respectively. Ozone-treated heads of 'Violet de Provence' and 'Apollo' reported a majorascorbic acid retention and a higher total polyphenols content in winter and early-spring harvests, respectively. Finally, regardless of the harvest time, the exposure of globe artichoke heads to an ozoneenrichedatmosphere should not exceed 3 days in order to preserve the antioxidant content andmaintain the microbiological standards.

2015 - Packaging reduction to improve the sustainability of carbonated soft drinks [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F.; Sapienza, G.; Mazzaglia, A.; D’Amico, L.; Tornatore, G.; Muratore, G

The popularity of carbonated soft drinks is mainly due to the refreshing taste which, in turn, depends on their flavour and on the carbon dioxide content. The shelf life of carbonated soft drinks is primarily correlated with the retention of carbon dioxide inside the PET bottle, hence with its barrier properties, however, other quality parameters, such as the volatiles content, should be taken into account and monitored in order to guarantee the consumers with the highest quality at every stage of the product commercial life. Considering the high incidence of packaging material on the final product, both in terms of cost and of environmental impact, the reduction of the bottle thickness could play a significant role in the overall improvement of the sustainability in the industry of soft drinks. Sibat Tomarchio s.r.l. is committed with the improvement of sustainability of productions and has decided to evaluate lighter preforms for bottling two of its core-products: Aranciata, containing 12% juice from Sicilian oranges, and Verdello, with 17% juice from Sicilian lemons. Tests on the CO2 retention performances are performed at every change (design, volume, material, etc.) occurring in the bottle, however this parameter has been considered as the only representative of the overall quality loss of carbonated soft drinks, while the aroma composition has not received sufficient attention. The research aimed at assessing alternative preforms to the one actually in use. One standard preform (clear, 34 g) was compared with two alternative ones (clear, 32 g and coloured, 32 g). During 6 months the samples were subjected to CO2 retention test, analysis of aroma profiles by HS-SPME-GC, and sensory analysis. Results demonstrate that it is possible to improve the sustainability of carbonated soft drinks by selecting lighter preforms, through shelf life studies based on the main quality parameters, supported by sensory analysis.

2015 - Physical properties and antifungal activity of bioactive films containing Wickerhamomyces anomalus killer yeast and their application for preservation of oranges and control of postharvest green mould caused by Penicillium digitatum [Articolo su rivista]
Aloui, Hajer; Licciardello, Fabio; Khwaldia, Khaoula; Hamdi, Moktar; Restuccia, Cristina

This study assessed the ability of two bio-based films, obtained from sodium alginate (NaAlg) and locust beangum (LBG), to protect the viability of Wickerhamomyces anomalus cells and control the growth of Penicilliumdigitatum. The effect of microbial cell incorporation on physical properties of the developed films was evaluatedin terms of barrier, mechanical and optical properties. Furthermore, the application of these two matrices as bioactivecoatingswas investigated in order to evaluate their efficacy in preserving the postharvest quality of ‘Valencia’oranges and inhibiting the growth of P. digitatum on artificially inoculated fruits. Results showed that NaAlgand LBG films were able to maintain more than 85% of the initial W. anomalus yeast population and that the developedfilms incorporating the killer yeast completely inhibited the growth of P. digitatumin synthetic medium.Likewise, NaAlg and LBG coatings enriched with W. anomalus yeast were effective at reducing weight loss andmaintaining firmness of ‘Valencia’ oranges during storage, and reduced green mold in inoculated fruits bymore than 73% after 13 days.

2015 - Rapid assessment of the effectiveness of antioxidant active packaging – Study with grape pomace and olive leaf extracts [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F; Wittenauer, J; Saengerlaub, S; Reinelt, M; Stramm, C

Natural antioxidants are mixtures of different components with their specific partition and diffusion coefficients and the exact description of the release kinetics into foods is, therefore, complex. For practical application however, the interest should be focused on the antioxidant effect rather than on the single compounds release, i.e., it is an approximation to describe the release of a mixture by treating it as single substance. The evaluation of such approach was subject of this study.Film samples coated with Shellac (Shel) and cellulose nitrate (NC), containing olive leaf extract (OLE) and grape pomace extract (GPE) at different concentrations were put in contact with three food simulants, namely W (water), A (10% ethanol) and D1 (50% ethanol), and the antioxidant capacity was assessed by suitably modified ABTS test.The equilibrium antioxidant capacity increased from W to A and D1 for GPE and OLE: the antioxidant levels attained films containing GPE were 0.272, 0.483 and 0.728. Trolox. mEq/L at 5% concentration, and 0.705, 0.786 and 0.893. Trolox. mEq/L at 10% concentration for W, A and D1 simulants, respectively. The method was also effective at comparing the lacquer retention performances, NC being more effective than the Shel, i.e., it showed a faster release of antioxidant compounds.

2014 - An innovative combined water ozonisation/O3-atmosphere storage for preserving the overall quality of two globe artichoke cultivars Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies [Articolo su rivista]
Restuccia, C.; Lombardo, S.; Pandino, G.; Licciardello, F.; Muratore, G; Mauromicale, G.

Effects of ozonised water, gaseous ozone exposure, and their combined treatments on microbiological and qualitative parameters of two globe artichoke cultivars (Violet de Provence and Romanesco clone C3) were studied during storage at 4 °C. At the end of this period, microbial counts were significantly lowered. Considering the qualitative parameters, ozone can be successfully applied to cv. Romanesco clone C3 without significantly increasing the respiration rate, while it could determine the acceleration of senescence in Violet de Provence heads. The storage under ozone-enriched atmosphere improved the initial polyphenol content in Violet de Provence, while for Romanesco clone C3 it seemed to be opportune to interrupt the ozonisation within the 4th day of storage for preventing excessive losses of polyphenol content. The ascorbic acid reduction, for both cultivars, was significantly increased by postharvest treatments with gaseous ozone suggesting to reduce, also in this case, the exposure days to the gas. Industrial relevance: The globe artichoke is a herbaceous crop native to the Mediterranean basin, which gives an important contribution both to agricultural economy and to human health due to the high content of promoting nutrients. Unfortunately, globe artichoke heads are very perishable because of their high respiratory activity, susceptibility to weight loss, and microbial decay. In particular, fungal decay is one of the main factors affecting the postharvest quality of globe artichoke and, so far, it is controlled by the application of chemical fungicides. However, resistance phenomena in microbial populations, growing public health and environmental concerns are urging for the use of alternative treatments. Among them, ozone is one of the most promising technologies from the health and environmental points of view for its spontaneous decomposition to non-toxic product. In addition, it has emerged as a potential antimicrobial agent in the post-harvest treatment of fruits and vegetables and is able to decompose pesticides and chemical residues. On the other side, the effect of ozone treatments on other qualitative parameters, including the level of antioxidant compounds, is highly dependent on the commodity and storage conditions. In this view, the combined water ozonisation/O3-atmosphere storage represents innovative and applicable postharvest treatments for globe artichoke, whose exposure time and concentrations need to be customized for each cultivar.

2014 - Efficacy of the combined application of chitosan and Locust Bean Gum with different citrus essential oils to control postharvest spoilage caused by Aspergillus flavus in dates [Articolo su rivista]
Aloui, H; Khwaldia, K; Licciardello, F; Mazzaglia, A; Muratore, G; Hamdi, M; Restuccia, C

This study reports the efficacy of the combined application of chitosan (CH) and Locust Bean Gum (LBG) in combination with different citrus essential oils (EOs) to inhibit Aspergillus flavus in vitro and on artificially infected dates for a storage period of 12 days . The effect of these treatments on the fruits’ sensory characteristics was evaluated to verify the complete absence of off-odours and off-flavours. Bergamot EO was the most effective in reducing mycelial growth, followed by bitter orange EO. Both bergamot and bitter orange oils significantly reduced conidial germination and a complete inhibition was obtained at concentrations higher than 2%. The mixtures based on CH-2% (v/v) bergamot EO or CH-2% (v/v) bitter orange EO proved to be the most effective coatings to reduce conidial germination , resulting in a 87-90% inhibition compared to the control. In fruit decay assays coatings based on CH incorporating citrus oils were able to reduce fungal decay in the 52- 62% range at day 12. The study results and the complete absence of off-flavours and off-odours demonstrate the potential of CH coatings carrying citrus EOs at sub-inhibitory concentrations to control postharvest growth of A. flavus in dates.

2014 - Influence of packaging on the quality maintenance of industrial bread by comparative shelf life testing [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F.; Cipri, L.; Muratore, G

The research focuses on the evaluation of the effects of films with different thickness on the quality of industrial durum wheat bread. A comparative shelf life test was performed taking into consideration textural parameters, instrumental crumb colour parameters, crumb moisture and alkaline water retention capacity, considered as indirect indicators of bread staling. Sliced, durum wheat bread was packed into a system made of a thermoformed bottom, with thickness ranging from 225 to 275. μm, and a lid (121-125. μm), with comparable barrier properties. Results demonstrated that it is possible to reduce packaging by about 20% without affecting shelf life standards. The packaging systems showed comparable barrier performances, maintaining the modified atmosphere during 103 days. Texture profile analysis gave comparable results for packages at reduced thickness compared with conventional ones. Also, colour, alkaline water retention capacity and crumb moisture correlated well with bread ageing and did not significantly vary among packaging types.

2014 - Quality Changes of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Packaged in Coloured Polyethylene Terephthalate Bottles Stored Under Different Lighting Conditions [Articolo su rivista]
Rizzo, V.; Torri, L.; Licciardello, F.; Piergiovanni, L.; Muratore, G

In this paper, the influence of light storage and the exposure on quality parameters of a monovarietal extra virgin olive oil packaged in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles were investigated. Coloured PET bottles (clear, green, orange, white and blue) were stored under different artificial lighting conditions in order to simulate the market environment (one fluorescent cool white lamp) and to perform an accelerated test (four fluorescent cool white lamps); storage in the dark was considered as a control. Total peroxide value, polyphenols, chlorophyll and carotenoids contents were, among the ones tested, the quality indexes most affected by lighting and were useful to investigate the bottle colour influence. Concerning the global quality of olive oil, under one fluorescent lamp, the best performances were obtained using blue and white PET bottles; whereas under accelerated conditions, the differences in the protection efficacy offered by the differently coloured bottles were reduced.

2013 - Bread-making performances of durum wheat semolina, as affected by ageing [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F.; Rizzo, V.; Grillo, O.; Venora, G.; Muratore, G

The present study addresses the influence of ageing on the bread-making performances of durum wheat semolina by bread image analysis. Bread loaves were produced from semolina samples stored in 4 different packaging materials for up to 150 days. Sampling and bread-making trials were performed every 15 days. Results showed that ageing does affect durum wheat semolina bread-making performances, highlighting that storage time, rather than the type of packaging material, is the main factor determining quality changes in the final bread samples. In particular, a change in the crust colour parameters and a reduction of the bread slice area and height by 20-35% were observed with increasing semolina storage time, along with a slight increase of crust % area. The change in farinographic parameters of dough suggests that the observed reduction of technological quality might be due to increased stiffness and reduced extensibility of gluten occurring in aged semolina. Unlike common wheat flours, which usually improve their technological features during ageing, durum wheat semolina is negatively affected in its quality by storage. The study highlights the importance of considering bread-making performances among the quality parameters to be taken into account for the shelf life evaluation of durum wheat semolina

2013 - Development of modified atmosphere packages on the quality of sicilian kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) shoots [Articolo su rivista]
Ragusa, L; Branca, F; Licciardello, F; Restuccia, C; Melilli, M G; Argento, S; Raccuia, S A

Since some decades, and also in the present global economic crisis, the requestfor fresh-cut products has showed an increasing trend, and its productive chainrepresent one of the most remunerative activity of agriculture. In this frame wepointed our attention to diversify fresh-cut vegetable items by several minor and/orunderutilized crops and in some case by wild species gathered and utilized asvegetables in Sicily. Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) shoots seem to be of greatinterest for fresh-cut production both for its environmental friendly growing techniquesand nutraceutical properties, as it is rich in antioxidants compounds asascorbic acid, total polyphenols, carotenoids and glucosinolates. The use of low level ofoxygen (O2) and of high level of carbon dioxide (CO2) atmosphere appeared useful formaintain quality and extend shelf-life for several vegetables. In this condition theplant reduces respiration process that involves a complex biochemical reactions,delayed ripening and senescence and also reduces fungal development. Besides,refrigeration is important for elongate the shelf-life but modified atmospherepackaging (MAP) is an important complementary technique to apply. We studied akale Sicilian type evaluating three modified atmospheres (air, 70% N2:30% CO2;100% CO2), three temperature levels (0, 4 and 8°C) during three storage times (0, 3and 7 days). Every day, the percentages of oxygen and carbon dioxide, colourparameters (CIE L*, a* and b*) and dry weight of the shoots were monitored. Resultsshowed the best shoots quality utilizing 70% N2:30% CO2 storage atmosphere at 4°C,the product is kept in good condition for all seven days. This study has improvedknowledge about the respiration process and variation of color of kale shoots inrelation to modified atmospheres packaging, temperature and time.

2013 - Diffusional behaviour of essential oil components in active packaging polypropylene films by Multiple Head-Space-Solid Phase Microextraction-Gas Chromatography (MHS-SPME-GC-MS) [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F.; Muratore, G; Mercea, P.; Tosa, V.; Nerin, C.

Essential oils (EOs) are promising substances to be incorporated in food packaging materials as antioxidant and/or antimicrobial agents in active packaging systems. Once incorporated into the materials, their constituent compounds diffuse through the material. However, there is little information about the diffusion behaviour of EOs in plastics, and this is one of the major drawbacks in the design of active packaging relying on EOs as active agents. This study presents a new method for studying the diffusion of basil, citronella, oregano and rosemary EOs into plastic films. Diffusion assays of EOs from a coated polypropylene (PP) film into a stack of virgin PP films were conducted by the Moisan method using up to 10 layers of PP. Direct quantification of diffused analytes from the plastic sheets was performed by multiple headspace solid phase microextraction–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The fitting of experimental data for the main EO components with a Fickian model gave diffusion and partition (between active and virgin PP) coefficients, which are discussed under the light of some intrinsic factors contributing to the diffusion process. The results demonstrate the dependence of diffusion and partition coefficients on the initial concentration of EO components in the coated films, on their molecular weight and on their polarity. In particular, for similar molecular weight and initial concentration, a higher polarity is responsible for a faster diffusion, whereas lower polarity determines the retention of the EO component in the coating layer.

2013 - Effectiveness of a novel insect-repellent food packaging incorporating essential oils against the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F.; Muratore, G; Suma, P.; Russo, A.; Nerín, C.

Packaging represents a critical step in the food quality preservation and the ultimate defence against insect pests. Cereal-based foods may be infested by insects even during their packed life, i.e. during distribution, transportation and storage in warehouses or in retail stores. Many studies in the last years have concerned the development of active packaging with antioxidant and antimicrobial action, but very few studies have addressed insect-repellent packaging materials for foods. This work aimed at assessing the repellent efficacy of novel functional packaging materials containing three essential oils: citronella, oregano and rosemary. Repellent films were chemically characterized by MHS-SPME-GC-MS. The results obtained from area tests run in Petri dishes indicated that essential oils at concentrations higher than 0.005 μL/cm2 showed potential in terms of repellent activities against the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. Assays performed with coated packages containing wheat semolina showed repellency results ranging from 53 to 87% for citronella and rosemary, respectively. Industrial Relevance: The paper deals with the study carried out of several Essential Oils as repellent for insects in packaged food. Rejection of packaged food caused by insect pests is a great problem that affects the industry worldwide. Without any doubt the prevention of insect attack from the packaging material without affecting the packaged product is an environmentally friendly and economical advantage. The industry is demanding this type of solutions.

2013 - Evaluation of some quality parameters of minimally processed white and violet-pigmented cauliflower curds [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F.; Muratore, G; Spagna, G.; Branca, F.; Ragusa, L.; Caggia, C.; Randazzo, C.; Restuccia, C.

The impact of minimal processing on the shelf life of White and Violet-pig-mented cauliflowers packaged in two different films was evaluated during refrigerated storage. White cauliflower was characterized by a weight loss around 8% after 5 days of storage in the perforated film, while the Violet-pigmented exceeded 22%. Packaging in the permeable film was effective at reducing the weight loss for both varieties to about 0.3%. The colorimetric analysis on racemes from both varieties did not reveal significant differences during storage, while important changes were observed on the cut surfaces of the White cultivar. Packaging in the permeable film allowed cauliflower, irrespective of the variety, to reach a steady-state O2 level ranging from 11 to 13% and a CO2 level of 8.5% after 72 hours. Although the initial mesophilic bacteria counts in both cultivars were high, all the analyzed samples were in compliance with the recommended microbial limits of total plate counts (8 log cfu/g). Count values for molds and yeasts reached the limit values (5 log cfu/g) after a few days of storage, especially for the White-type packaged in the perforated film, while a different behaviour was shown by Enterobacteriaceae, which evidenced a higher load throughout the considered storage period in samples packaged in the permeable film. The use of a non-perforated, permeable packaging determines a suitable atmosphere, limiting moisture loss. Violet cauliflower is more suitable for minimal processing due to a higher color stability on the cut surface area, however, microbial quality of raw materials represents a crucial aspect for the shelf life extension.

2013 - Survival of Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotic strains in peach jam during storage at different temperatures [Articolo su rivista]
Randazzo, Cl; Pitino, I; Licciardello, F; Muratore, G; Caggia, C

Survival of six probiotic wild strains of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, in comparison with a type strain, into peach synthetic medium (PSM) and commercial peach jam (PJ), was followed during 78 days of storage at 25 and 5°C. Changes in viable cell counts, pH values, sugar contents and colour parameters during storage were monitored. All strains exhibited better performances in PJ than in PSM, showing count values higher than 7 Log cfu g-1 up to 78 days of storage at 5°C. Almost all wild strains remained above the critical value of 6 Log cfu g-1 in samples stored at 25°C up to 45 days, while the Lb. rhamnosus GG type strain, used as control, was not able to survive later than 15 days. In the synthetic medium used the strains showed better survival in samples incubated at 25°C, remaining viable above the critical level up to 45 days of storage, except for the strain H12. The probiotic cultures added to jam did not significantly modify the colour parameters of the produce, however the metabolism of lactobacilli did determine changes in the pH and in the sugars composition.

2012 - Effect of sugar, citric acid and egg white type on the microstructural and mechanical properties of meringues [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F; Frisullo, P; Laverse, J; Muratore, G; DEL NOBILE M., A

Meringues are characterized by a predominant air phase and their overall quality is intimately related with microstructure. The formation of meringues microstructure relies on the capacity of egg white (EW) proteins to form voluminous and stable foams and it is ultimately related with the chemical properties of proteins and with the addition of ingredients such as sugars, salts, acids and surfactants. The study aimed at assessing the influence of sugar/EW ratio, citric acid and EW type on the microstructural and mechanical properties of meringues. Meringues prepared with different sugar/EW, citric acid level and different EW type were subjected to microstructural analysis by X-ray microtomography and to mechanical assessment by compression tests. Results demonstrate the ability of X-ray microtomography to reconstruct the 3D microstructure of meringues allowing the measurement of porosity, size, shape and distribution of pores. Citric acid, sugar concentration and EW type play a fundamental role on meringues microstructural parameters and mechanical properties. Low sugar/EW ratios as well as increasing citric acid levels increase the air phase and result in a softer texture of meringues. Moreover, low sugar/EW ratios and increasing citric acid in the meringue result in a reduction of pore size and also influence the shape of pores. Meringues microstructural and mechanical properties are affected by the EW quality: fresh and pasteurized EWs and EWs stored at refrigerated temperatures scored the highest structural and mechanical performances, while powdered and frozen EWs and albumens from old eggs showed the worst results. Not only the balance among ingredients but also the choice of raw materials can strongly affect the final quality of meringues.

2012 - Influence of storage time and conditions on durum wheat semolina breadmaking performances [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Licciardello, F.; Grillo, O.; Venora, G.; Muratore, G

Durum wheat semolina is mostly used for the preparation of pasta and couscous and, in the Mediterranean area, it is also used to make bread. Several studies have assessed the ability of image analysis techniques to study bread quality. This is affected by several factors, such as the flour nature, the milling techniques and bread-making process, yeast type, water content of dough and the use of enzymes and other additives. However, the physico-chemical changes occurring during storage of flour and semolina might affect their technological properties; in particular, it is established that starch damage (or depolymerization) at a certain extent has a negative effect on bread structure. Many studies have addressed the shelf life of bread as a function of the bread-making process, raw materials and additives, however no study has investigated the role of semolina ageing on the bread-making performances. The aim of the present research was to assess the influence of durum wheat semolina ageing on the physical characteristics of bread by image analysis. Bread loaves were produced from semolina samples stored in 4 different packaging materials up to 150 days. Sampling and bread-making trials were performed every 15 days. Results show that ageing does affects durum wheat semolina bread-making performances, highlighting that storage time, rather than the type of packaging material, is the main factor determining quality changes in the final bread samples. In particular, a reduction of the bread slice area and height was observed with increasing semolina storage time, while a slight increase of crust and pore % areas was observed.

2012 - Strategies for the extension of the shelf life of ready to eat prickly pear fruits [Articolo su rivista]
Scalone, D; Stuto, A; Licciardello, F; Muratore, G; Todaro, A; Spagna, G

The prickly pear fruit (Opuntia ficus indica L. Miller) belongs to the Cactaceae family. The fruit is a berry, composed by an epicarp and the pulp, which represents the edible portion. At maturation, the epicarp turns yellow, red or white, depending on the cultivar. In Italy, the prickly pear is mainly cultivated in Sicily (90% of the national production). The fruit is very sensitive to low storage temperatures (< 5 degrees C) which cause chilling injuries. The fruits can be successfully commercialized as a ready-to-eat product, peeled and suitably packaged. The main limit to its production is the formation of off-flavours due to different factors, such as the growth of microorganism and the action of endogenous enzymes (lipid oxidation). In fact, the oxidoreductases are directly responsible for the lipid oxidation, which has influence on the production of off-flavours, on the structure and on the shelf-life of the fruit. The lipoxygenase (LOX) is a dioxygenase which catalyzes the oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids to hydroperoxides. The aim of this work was to compare different packaging technologies to extend the shelf life of ready-to-eat prickly pear fruits. The LOX activity, microbial counts and gas composition were evaluated for non-treated samples packed in ordinary atmosphere and in two modified atmospheres having different O-2 and CO2 composition (MA1 5% O-2, 2% CO2, 93% N-2; MA2 2% O-2, 5% CO2, 93% N-2) and for samples treated either with a blanching or with a blanching followed by a dipping in a citric acid solution. The pretreatment conditions are essential for the LOX activity, in particular the blanching reduced its activity by at least 30% especially in combination with fruit acidification and limited the microbial proliferation. As a result of suitable pretreatment and packaging operations the shelf life of ready-to-eat prickly pears can be successfully extended.

2012 - Stress-cracking of PET bottle as an unpredictable factor limiting the commercial life of carbonated soft drinks [Articolo su rivista]
Coriolani, C; Licciardello, F; Muratore, G

The shelf life of carbonated beverages mainly depends on the carbon dioxide retention performances of the PET bottle, however the commercial life of such products can be compromised by ruptures and crackings of the material, which can occur in certain conditions. The so-called "stress cracking" of PET bottles occurs in correspondence with the injection point, which is more susceptible due to its amorphous nature, unlike the sides of the bottles, whose strength is a result of a certain degree of orientation. Stress cracking can be a consequence of various factors, which usually act in combination and are difficult to isolate: excessive internal pressure (excess carbonation), material distribution, altered intrinsic viscosity, exposure to UV rays and/or high temperatures, but most important is the contact with caustic substances (for example, the lubricant of the conveyors belts), etc. The present contribution focuses on a case study occurred at SIBEG s.r.l., concerning the non conformity of 1.5 L PET bottles of a popular carbonated soft drink, which caused the loss of an important amount of bottles, the disposal of defective products, and the careful inspection and selection of in-house stocks. Inspections revealed no failure in the blowing process, leading to hypothesize over-carbonation and transport conditions as the triggering events. Moreover, the analysis of intrinsic viscosity (IV) of bottles and preforms revealed the non-conformity with specification. Despite the product conformity concerning thermal stability, burst test and stress cracking test performed in alkaline conditions, PET bottles quality and performances may become altered if the IV of the material does not fulfill specifications. Therefore, the IV determination plays a key role, complementary with other routine determinations, in the quality control of PET bottles addressed to carbonated soft drinks packaging. The use of such tool is fundamental for the prevention of severe problems which might occur along the distribution chain, such as claims, withdrawal and disposal of defective products.

2011 - Effect of temperature and some added compounds on the stability of blood orange marmalade [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F; Muratore, G

Jams and marmalades are often wrongly believed to be stable products, as the degradation of pigments such as anthocyanins, browning reactions, and the formation of sugar degradation products may occur during storage. The paper aims at studying some of the degradation reactions occurring in blood orange marmalade stored at 20 .C and 35 .C. The addition of natural (tea extract) and naturally occurring (ascorbic acid, cysteine, gallic acid) compounds to marmalade was addressed at investigating the possible effect on retarding such phenomena. Results highlight the dependence of anthocyans and 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furaldehyde (HMF) levels on the storage temperature. Marmalades added with cysteine, unlike the samples added with phenol compounds, showed higher anthocyans and lower HMF levels just after processing, together with a reduced anthocyan loss kinetics and a slowdown of HMF formation during storage at both temperatures.

2011 - Geographical origin assessment of orange juices by comparison of free aminoacids distribution [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Licciardello, F; Muratore, G; Avola, C; Tomaselli, F; Maccarone, E

Scientific research nowadays makes considerable efforts for the setting of methods for the assessment of the geographical origin of food products. Very few studies have focused on orange juices, aiming at differentiating the origin of samples coming from very far areas of the world, while no research has attempted to find suitable markers able to ascertain the geographical origin of orange juices produced in neighbouring regions, such as those of south Italy, where more than 90% of the entire Italian production is concentrated. Past studies showed that the distribution of hydroxycinnamic acids in juices is effective for the origin assessment of blood orange varieties, but unsuitable for blonde ones. In the present, we have assessed and discussed the distribution of free aminoacids in orange juices. Seventy samples of the blood and blonde varieties were collected from different citrus farms located in Sicily and Calabria throughout the season 2007-2008. Nineteen aminoacids were determined, subject to prior derivatization, by HPLC with fluorimetric detector. Aminoacids were quantified by external calibration and expressed as mmol L-1 and experimental data were elaborated by statistical analysis. The total free aminoacid content, as well as the level of proline, arginine, aspartic acid, asparagine, serine and glycine can be considered as a markers of geographic origin, contributing to sharply discriminate blonde Sicilian orange varieties from Calabrian ones.

2011 - Improvement of CO2 retention of PET bottles for carbonated soft drinks [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F; Coriolani, C; Muratore, G

One of the major aims pursued by the carbonated soft drinks industry is to extend the shelf-life of PET-packaged products, in order to guarantee the consumers with the original characteristics and quality. Most of the responsibility in the shelf-life extension of such products has to be attributed to the bottle material performances, such as the barrier properties to gases with special regards for the ability to maintain the internal CO2 through the shelf-life. Tests on carbonated soft drinks bottles are performed at every change (design, volume, etc.) of the package, in order to verify the performances of the new bottle with special regards for the CO2 retention properties. The research aims at the evaluation of new bottles addressed to the packaging of a sugar free and a caffeine free carbonated soft drink (Coca-Cola Light e Coca-Cola Caffeine Free), recently launched on the Italian market. The start of commercialisation for these new products is the result of a project named "Silver and Gold", which takes the name from the new colours of the new bottles. Such bottles are produced using the same PET resin as the standard ones, with the only exception of master batch dyes used in the test materials. The CO2 retention performances of Silver and Gold bottles were investigated in comparison with the standard bottle used as a control. Results showed that CO2 retention was improved in the Silver and Gold bottles, which retained averagely 88% of the initial CO2 level after 14 weeks of storage, approximately 10% more than the standard bottles.

2011 - Quality evaluation of shrimps (Parapenaeus longirostris) as affected by edible films [Articolo su rivista]
Avola, C; Licciardello, F; Mazzaglia, A; Giannone, V; Zanti, C; Muratore, G

The effect of chitosan blends with different components as coatings for the shelf-life extension of fresh shrimps was evaluated during chilled storage. Blended films were: chitosan solution, chitosan solution added with tapioca starch, cornstarch flour and locust bean gum (LBG). Untreated shrimps were used as control. These coating solutions were characterised by means of pH, viscosity and color measurements. The effects of these edible films on the shelf-life of shrimps were monitored during storage by physical (color and rheological measurements), chemical (pH, total volatile basic nitrogen, TVBN) and microbiological (total bacterial counts) analyses. Sensory analyses were also performed to define the state of freshness of the products. The coating solutions showed similar characteristics, such as pH, viscosity and color, but different effects on the shelf-life of shrimps. Generally the effect of coating solutions on shrimps shelf-life is positive but in necessary to continue the research to improve the results.

2011 - Saccharomyces hybrids as a tool for improving the quality of Moscato di Siracusa DOC wine [Articolo su rivista]
Restuccia, C; Muratore, G; Muccilli, S; Randazzo, CINZIA LUCIA; Caggia, Cinzia; Mazzaglia, A; LANZA C., M; Licciardello, F; Giudici, Paolo

The study aimed to evaluate four Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains, one intraspecific S. cerevisiae hybrid, and five interspecific S. cerevisiae×S. uvarum hybrids with respect to the quality of Moscato di Siracusa DOC wine by comparing them with a commercial Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain. Most of the interspecific hybrids maintained volatile acidity (VA) at very low levels, produced high concentrations of glycerol, malic and succinic acid, and yielded the highest concentration of positive sensory attributes. On the basis of the results of these experimental fermentation trials, a real opportunity to produce special wines employing S. cerevisiae×S. uvarum hybrids is proposed.

2010 - Caratterizzazione preliminare di farine di semi di carruba (Ceratonia siliqua L.) di differente origine geografica [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Avola, C; Licciardello, F; Maccarone, E; Tomaselli, F; Muratore, G

La farina di semi di carruba, nota internazionalmente come Locust Bean Gum (LBG) e classificata nella lista europea degli additivi alimentari con la sigla E410, viene impiegata come addensante e stabilizzante nelle preparazioni alimentari. Obiettivo del presente lavoro è quello di valutare le varietà di carrubo più idonee per l'ottenimento di rivestimenti edibili da impiegare nella conservazione degli alimenti. L'interesse verso i film edibili per il diretto rivestimento dei prodotti alimentari è legato alla capacità di fungere da barriera con l'esterno e quindi di regolare gli scambi gassosi che potrebbero compromettere la salubrità e le proprietà sensoriali dell'alimento. Dodici varietà di carrubo, di differente provenienza geografica (Italia, Spagna, Tunisia, Turchia, Marocco), sono state analizzate effettuando le seguenti determinazioni: caratterizzazione dei semi, resa in germe e gomma, proprietà reologiche di soluzioni standard. Lo studio è stato sviluppato in modo da caratterizzare dal punto di vista reologico, diverse tipologie di soluzioni per coating in modo da ottenere il maggior numero di informazioni al fine della loro eventuale selezione ed applicazione. Le varietà italiane Ibla e Racemosa e quella marocchina si sono dimostrate le migliori in termini di resa, la varietà proveniente dal Marocco si distingue anche per l'elevato potenziale tecnologico.

2010 - Effetto di Lactobacillus rhamnosus sulle caratteristiche chimico-fisiche di confettura probiotica di pesche [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Licciardello, F; Muccilli, S; Pitino, I; Muratore, G; RANDAZZO C., L; Restuccia, C; Caggia, C

Nel presente lavoro 6 ceppi di Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotici, isolati da formaggio pecorino tradizionale, sono stati impiegati per la formulazione di una confettura probiotica di pesche. I campioni di confettura inoculata (conservati a 25° e a 7°C) sono stati monitorati per 78 giorni per valutare la sopravvivenza dei ceppi e l’andamento dei parametri fisico-chimici quali pH e colore. Cinque ceppi sono rimasti vitali al di sopra di 6 Log UFC/g, a 25°C fino al 45° giorno di conservazione mentre a 7°C e tutti i ceppi hanno esibito conte superiori a 7 Log UFC/g dopo 78 giorni di conservazione. Questo lavoro dimostra che ceppi di Lb. rhamnosus, isolati da formaggio possono essere impiegati per la produzione di confettura probiotica.

2010 - La distribuzione degli amminoacidi liberi quale criterio per accertare l’origine geografica delle arance bionde e pigmentate [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Licciardello, F; Tomaselli, F; Maccarone, E

Il presente lavoro si prefigge l’obiettivo di individuare dei marker in grado di distinguere l’origine geografica delle arance siciliane e calabresi, che insieme costituiscono oltre il 90% dell’intera produzione italiana. La distribuzione degli acidi idrossicinnamici nei succhi si è rivelata efficace per discriminare l’origine geografica delle varietà a polpa rossa, ma è inidonea per discriminare quelle a polpa bionda. Quale criterio diagnostico è stata analizzata e discussa la distribuzione degli amminoacidi liberi nei succhi. Pertanto, nel corso dell’annata arancicola 2007-2008, sono stati prelevati presso diverse aziende agrumicole siciliane e calabresi 70 differenti campioni di arance di varietà bionde e pigmentate. Sono stati determinati 19 amminoacidi con la metodologia HPLC con rivelatore a fluorescenza, previa derivatizzazione. Gli amminoacidi sono stati quantificati mediante calibrazione esterna ed espressi in mmol/L, e i dati sperimentali sono stati elaborati con trattamenti statistici descrittivi e multivariati. Il contenuto di arginina nei succhi può essere considerato un marker di varietà e di origine geografica, ma anche altri amminoacidi (acido aspartico, asparagina, serina, glicina e prolina) contribuiscono a discriminare nettamente le varietà bionde siciliane da quelle calabresi.

2010 - Microstructural characterization of multiphase chocolate using x-ray microtomography [Articolo su rivista]
Frisullo, P; Licciardello, F; Muratore, G; Del Nobile M., A

In this study, X-ray microtomography (μCT) was used for the image analysis of the microstructure of 12 types of Italian aerated chocolate chosen to exhibit variability in terms of cocoa mass content. Appropriate quantitative 3-dimensional parameters describing the microstructure were calculated, for example, the structure thickness (ST), object structure volume ratio (OSVR), and the percentage object volume (POV). Chemical analysis was also performed to correlate the microstructural data to the chemical composition of the samples. Correlation between the μCT parameters acquired for the pore microstructure evaluation and the chemical analysis revealed that the sugar crystals content does not influence the pore structure and content. On the other hand, it revealed that there is a strong correlation between the POV and the sugar content obtained by chemical analysis. The results from this study show that μCT is a suitable technique for the microstructural analysis of confectionary products such as chocolates and not only does it provide an accurate analysis of the pores and microstructure but the data obtained could also be used to aid in the assessment of its composition and consistency with label specifications.

2010 - Produzione e caratterizzazione di confetture e gelatine da carrube [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Sanna, E; Lombardi, F; Licciardello, F; Avola, C; Muratore, G

Il carrubo (Ceratonia siliqua L.) è una pianta tipica dell’area mediterranea ed è estesamente coltivato in Sicilia. L’utilizzo ai fini alimentari dei frutti, se si esclude l’impiego dei semi per ricavare la farina di semi di carrube utilizzata come addensante, è molto limitato e la polpa di carrube trova impiego quasi esclusivamente in ambito zootecnico. Tuttavia le peculiari caratteristiche nutrizionali delle carrube quali lo scarso contenuto in grassi, l’elevato contenuto in zuccheri, in fibre e in polifenoli e l’alto potere antiossidante ne suggeriscono un maggiore impiego nell’ambito dell’alimentazione umana. Scopo della ricerca è la messa a punto del processo di produzione e la caratterizzazione nutrizionale di un prodotto alimentare trasformato quale confettura o gelatina. Sono stati così ottenuti preparati utilizzando come componenti principali un estratto acquoso del frutto con e senza l’addizione di farina di polpa.

2010 - Quality maintenance performance and resistance to Tribolium castaneum and Plodia interpunctella penetration of an alternative packaging material for semolina [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F; MASSIMINO COCUZZA, G; Russo, A; Muratore, G

Insect attacks to food packages are a major concern for food producers, who are often blamed for being responsible for the occurrence of contamination which seriously affects the image of the company. Wheat semolina is commonly packed in paper bags, which do not always offer sufficient protection against insect pests. The present research evaluated the performance of a new packaging alternative, consisting of paper laminated with polypropylene (P+CPP), in terms of resistance to penetration by two common cereal product pests, namely Tribolium castaneum and Plodia interpunctella, and quality maintenance of the packaged product. Neither of the two pest species tested were able to pierce the P+CPP, while no differences were observed in the time required to penetrate other materials. Moreover, quality parameters, namely pH, acidity and color, did not differ significantly among samples packed in different materials. The new P+CPP combination is a promising alternative for the packaging of semolina, because it offers improved protection against pests compared with conventional materials, while maintaining the paper appearance of traditional packaging.

2010 - Studio delle caratteristiche organolettiche di marmellate e confetture durante la conservazione [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Sanna, E; Licciardello, F; Colombo, N; Muratore, G

Marmellate e confetture sono prodotti relativamente stabili, il cui periodo di conservazione oscilla generalmente tra i 2 e 3 anni; tali prodotti vanno difficilmente incontro ad alterazioni di origine microbiologica ma le caratteristiche organolettiche e nutrizionali possono subire, durante la conservazione, profonde modifiche. Particolare attenzione stata rivolta allo studio del mantenimento della colorazione di marmellate di arance rosse. Nella fattispecie, sono stati monitorati i parametri del colore e l’imbrunimento. Considerando il lungo periodo di conservazione, lo studio si è avvalso di un test accelerato di shelf-life, sottoponendo i prodotti a diverse temperature di conservazione. Lo studio rivela che tali prodotti, comunemente ritenuti stabili, subiscono modifiche significative già nelle prime fasi di conservazione. L’approccio utilizzato potrebbe rivelarsi utile per la predizione delle variazioni delle principali caratteristiche di qualità e per la stima della reale shelf-life di questi prodotti.

2010 - Studio sui materiali alternativi per confezionare la semola [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F; D'ALESSANDRO I., E; Massimino COCUZZA, G; Russo, A; Muratore, G

Semolina is commonly commercialized in Kraft paper pouches, even if this material does not guarantee sufficient protection against moisture exchanges and insect infestations. The research aimed at evaluating the ability of a new laminated material, consisting of paper externally and cast polypropylene as an inner layer, to maintain the quality of semolina. The performance of four materials (paper, cast PP, paper+cast PP, and BOPP+cast PP) to protect semolina from the attacks of the main pests were compared; moreover, the chemical and physical parameters were monitored, such as acidity, pH, colour, and humidity. The laminated materials were resistant to insect penetration, while paper was easily penetrated, with the time of penetration depending on the insect species. All analyses highlighted the good performance of paper+cast polypropylene with special regards for the resistance to insect penetration.

2009 - Scalping of ethyloctanoate and linalool from a model wine into plastic films [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F; DEL NOBILE M., A; Spagna, G; Muratore, G

The scalping of aroma compounds may affect the sensory properties of wines packed in plastic, such as those commercialized in aseptic multilayer packages, by reducing the intensity and changing the character of the original aroma. Up to date, no study has focused on the scalping of wine aroma compounds. The present study aimed at determining the sorption kinetics of two wine volatiles, chosen on the basis of their low threshold and high odor activity value, in linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and cast polypropylene (CPP), from a model solution simulating wine composition. The experimental data were satisfactorily fitted by the Fick’s Second Law, as to prove an ideal Fickian transport diffusional character of the phenomenon. Sorption was determined by means of MHS-SPME, a technique recently developed to quantify volatile compounds from solid matrices. Ethyloctanoate was sorbed more into CPP than LLDPE, and at much higher extent than linalool, as a consequence of the different polarity of the molecules. The amount of ethyloctanoate lost at the steady state determines a significant variation of its odor activity value and the imbalance of the original aroma composition.

2009 - The role of small-sized tomatoes in carotenoid uptake [Capitolo/Saggio]
Licciardello, F; Muratore, G

The nutritional value of the tomato owes to the beneficial effects that some of its components have on human health, particularly the prevention of some types of cancer and cardiovascular disease and, in general, contributing to the inhibition of oxidative processes. Among these, beta-carotene and lycopene are the most important, the former represented at levels four to eight times lower than the latter. The tomato is an irreplaceable component of the Mediterranean diet, to which it contributes antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre and carotenoids. The preference of consumers has recently increased towards small-sized tomato varieties, which nowadays represent an emergent product in Italy, where different cultivars are produced and delivered almost entirely for fresh consumption. Many authors have studied the nutritional characteristics of cherry tomatoes, but no study, other than the one presented in this chapter, deals with plum tomatoes, which turn out to be a tomato type even more valuable than the cherry tomato in terms of its carotenoid content. All of the studies, including the one presented hereafter, confirm that small-sized tomatoes, with differences among varieties, are richer in dry matter and in antioxidant compounds, which accumulate especially in the external parts of the fruits and are, therefore, more concentrated in small berries having a higher surface/volume ratio. A literature survey of the tomato's nutritional content points out that if, on one hand, it is difficult to correlate the lycopene content with the tomato size, as some large-sized varieties are rich in this carotenoid, it is more evident that small-sized varieties are characterized by higher beta-carotene levels. Tomato antioxidanls are relatively stable in the presence of heat treatment. The partial drying of cherry tomatoes represents a novel preservation technology with the ability to increase the opportunity for consumption of tomatoes. Semi-dry cherry tomatoes obtained at higher temperatures with short drying times show a nutritional content, with special regard for beta-carotene, very close to the fresh product. The slight heat damage produced is easily counterbalanced by the concentration of dry matter which, in turn, allows increased consumption of the tomato's nutritive compounds.

2008 - Partial dehydration of cherry tomato at different temperature, and nutritional quality of the products [Articolo su rivista]
Muratore, G; Rizzo, V; Licciardello, F; Maccarone, E

This study concerns the partial dehydration of cherry tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum, var. Shiren) to obtain a product with 25% initial water content. Two kinds of dried tomatoes were obtained using a forced air oven at 40, 60 and 80 °C for different lengths of treatment. The first type was dehydrated after immersion of the fresh tomatoes in an aqueous solution of citric acid, sodium and calcium chloride (10:10:24 g/l); the second was obtained with no pre-treatment. The products were characterised by measuring their CIE L*a*b* colour parameters and levels of L-ascorbic acid, lycopene and β-carotene to evaluate thermal damage during processing under the different conditions. Moreover, water activity and the formation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural were also determined as an index of sugar heat degradation. Treatment with a dipping solution protected both the nutritional and chemical qualities of the partially dried cherry tomatoes. Temperature was directly related to browning, ascorbic acid loss and HMF formation, while no clear influence could be found for carotenoid degradation.

2008 - Selezione di lieviti starter per la produzione di Malvasia delle Lipari. Selection of starter yeasts for Malvasia delle Lipari wine production [Articolo su rivista]
Restuccia, C; Randazzo, C; Caggia, C; Giudici, P; Licciardello, F; Muratore, G

The use of selected yeasts for winemaking, besides preventing undesired fermentations, allows to plan the final characteristics of wine through the use of the most suitable strain. [...]

2008 - Studio dello scalping di aromi di vino in diversi film plastici [Articolo su rivista]
Licciardello, F; DEL NOBILE M., A; Spagna, G; Muratore, G

La diffusione di costituenti degli alimenti negli imballaggi (scalping), così come il trasferimento di contaminanti dai materiali agli alimenti (migrazione) causano spesso perdita di qualità dei prodotti confezionati. Se la migrazione mette a rischio la sicurezza dei cibi confezionati, lo scalping ne influenza le proprietà sensoriali. Scopo dello studio è stato quello di valutare la possibilità di ottimizzare il materiale d’imballaggio per preservare importanti composti volatili nei vini confezionati in plastica. La ricerca si basa sullo studio delle cinetiche di assorbimento di due aromi scelti sulla base della bassa soglia di percezione e dell’elevato valore aromatico nei vini, da parte di due diversi materiali d’imballaggio da una soluzione modello. I risultati mostrano che l’assorbimento procede fino all’equilibrio, e che può essere descritto per mezzo di un modello matematico di tipo Fickiano. Inoltre, l’assorbimento da parte dei due materiali plastici determina perdite significative e differenti dei composti aromatici e la diminuzione del loro valore aromatico, lasciando presupporre un impoverimento delle qualità sensoriali dei vini.

2008 - Studio dello scalping di aromi di vino in diversi films plastici [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Licciardello, F; DEL NOBILE M., A; Spagna, G; Muratore, G

La diffusione di costituenti degli alimenti negli imballaggi (scalping), così come il trasferimento di contaminanti dai materiali agli alimenti (migrazione) causano spesso perdita di qualità dei prodotti confezionati. Se la migrazione mette a rischio la sicurezza dei cibi confezionati, lo scalping ne influenza le proprietà sensoriali. Scopo dello studio è stato quello di valutare la possibilità di ottimizzare il materiale d’imballaggio per preservare importanti composti volatili nei vini confezionati in plastica. La ricerca si basa sullo studio delle cinetiche di assorbimento di due aromi scelti sulla base della bassa soglia di percezione e dell’elevato valore aromatico nei vini, da parte di due diversi materiali d’imballaggio da una soluzione modello. I risultati mostrano che l’assorbimento procede fino all’equilibrio, e che può essere descritto per mezzo di un modello matematico di tipo Fickiano. Inoltre, l’assorbimento da parte dei due materiali plastici determina perdite significative e differenti dei composti aromatici e la diminuzione del loro valore aromatico, lasciando presupporre un impoverimento delle qualità organolettiche dei vini.

2008 - Study of the scalping of wine aroma compounds into plastic films [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Licciardello, F; DEL NOBILE M., A; Spagna, G; Muratore, G

The scalping of aroma compounds causes the loss of aroma intensity and/or the change in aroma profile. This latter effect is explained by the different affinity that different aroma compounds, usually belonging to different chemical species, have for the plastic phase. A right approach in the study of scalping should consider the odor thresholds and odor activity values of volatiles in order to select those volatiles whose loss can determine a sensory effect. Moreover, the determination of sorbed volatiles directly from plastic gives more reliable results and information about the nature of the sorptive phenomenon with respect to the indirect determination of the loss of volatiles from the contact solutions. Researches focusing on the sorption of wine volatiles into plastic are lacking, and most studies addressing the scalping of aroma compounds have been focused on citrus volatiles. The aim of the present research was to evaluate Multiple Headspace Solid Phase Microextraction (MHS-SPME) as a method to study the sorption kinetics of two wine volatiles, namely ethyloctanoate and linalool, from a model solution into CPP and LLDPE. The aroma compounds were selected on the basis of their low thresholds and high odor activity values in wine. Results highlight a higher affinity of ethyloctanoate for the plastic phase and a higher sorptive power of CPP compared to LLDPE. The experimental data of volatiles sorption kinetics were satisfactorily fitted by a mathematical model based on Fick’s second law. The different sorption kinetics of ethyloctanoate and linalool determine different variations of the respective odor activity values, this results in an imbalance of the aroma character, which would be a factor limiting the shelf-life of wines packed in multilayer packagings. The study of the sorption of volatiles is a helpful tool in the choice and optimization of packaging materials which could preserve the original aroma composition of wines packed in plastic.

2008 - Susceptibility of plastic packages to insect pests attacks [Articolo su rivista]
Muratore, G; Licciardello, F; Virone, G; Russo, A

Packaging represents the ultimate defence of pasta producers against insect pests; even if the product comes out uncontaminated from the production line, this does not guarantee that it will reach the consumer in the same condition. The ability of some pests to pierce different plastic material is well known: insects are attracted by odors, therefore it is necessary to take in consideration the barrier properties to volatile compounds, Pasta packages are characterized by numerous pinholes which are mechanically produced to avoid having swollen bags after sealing: these pre-existing holes are often exploited by most pests as a preferential entrance to packages, and they are detected by insects by following the outflow of attractive odors. Packaging, therefore, represents a critical point in the quality preservation of packed pasta. Insect pests are commonly present in the production and storage environments, and their presence is favoured by unappropriate prevention measures. Common pests that affect pasta and starchy products usually belong to the genera: Tribolium, Sitophilus, Plodia and Rhyzopenha. The aim of the study was to evaluate the resistance to piercing of three plastic materials (polypropylene obtained with different processing techniques) by Tribolium spp>, Sitophilus spp, and Rhyzoperíha Dominica, and the relative ability of each pest to enter the packages. Two tests were carried out, the first one was aimed at evaluating the resistance of the plastic materials, the latter evaluated the ability of the species tested to enter pasta bags. Results confirmed the good resistance of PP to the penetration of insect pests, and highlighted the highest penetration ability of Sitophilus spp. The optimization and suitable design of the packaging system, which should consider the reduction of the hole diameter, would allow to reduce the risk of pests penetration.

2007 - Dependance of the shelf-life of carbonated soft drinks from PET performances as required by "the Coca Cola Company" [Articolo su rivista]
Coriolani, C; Ponzo, A; Rizzo, V; Licciardello, F; Muratore, G

PET (Polyethyleneterephthalate) is one of the most important resins used for the package of carbonated water and soft drinks. Preforms are intermediate products which are manufactured in a wide range of designs and colours by injection moulding of PET. The cost of the resin covers a high percentage in the overall cost of the produce, especially due to the recent increments on the price of petroleum, from which PET is derived. As a consequence, according to the numerous standards fixed by " The Coca-Cola Company (R)", Sibeg S.r.l. decided to test a new cheaper PET preform which was suggested by a possible new supplier. The experiment consisted in the comparison of the main performance characteristics of the old PET bottles in comparison with the ones obtained from the new preforms. " The Coca-Cola Company (R)" requires specific test procedures to authorize a new package. Among the methods used to test new materials, the gas-barrier properties have a main importance as they are directly linked with the shelf-life of the bottled produces. Shelf-life of carbonated soft drinks is determined by the internal CO2 level, and limits for this parameter are different for different the types of beverages. Therefore a material with higher CO2-barrier property would be effective in extending the shelf-life of carbonated drinks. Results evidenced a similar behaviour of the two materials tested for what concerns the characteristics of the bottles (dimensions, appearance, distribution of the material, stress cracking test), showing, in particular, comparable CO2 internal pressure after 12 weeks of storage.

2007 - Design of plastic packages for minimally processed fruits [Articolo su rivista]
Del Nobile M., A; Licciardello, F; Scrocco, C; Muratore, G; Zappa, M

In this work the possibility of using a simple mathematical model for designing plastic film for fresh processed fruits packaging is addressed. The study was conducted by packaging three different fresh processed fruits: prickly pear, banana and kiwifruit; with two different commercially available films: a laminated PE/aluminum/PET film, and a co-extruded polyolefinic film, and storing the packages at 5 °C. The package headspace composition, in terms of oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration, was monitored for a period ranging between 4 and 12 days, depending on film type. A simple mathematical model was used for describing and predicting the respiration behavior of packed fresh processed fruits during storage. Results showed that despite its simplicity the proposed model satisfactorily describes and predicts the respiration behavior of investigated fresh processed fruits. It was also found that the predictive ability of the proposed model depends on both the permeability of the package and the fresh processed fruit packed. Packaging optimization was performed taking the film thickness as variable. Results suggest that the optimal film thickness strongly depends on packed fruits.

2007 - Effect of process variables on the quality of swordfish fillets flavoured with smoke condensate [Articolo su rivista]
Muratore, G; Mazzaglia, A; LANZA C., M; Licciardello, F

An alternative technique to traditional smoking of swordfish was evaluated. Fillets were dry salted and/or brine salted in 30% NaCl, and smoked by dipping in smoke condensate solution at different concentrations. Chemical (water-phase salt, pH, total volatile basic nitrogen, lipid oxidation), microbiological (total mesophilic count and fecal coliforms count) and sensory analyses were carried out in order to establish which technique gave the best results in terms of sensory quality. The different salting techniques gave different water-phase salt contents, which influenced the microbial growth and the production of volatile bases. The smoke condensate concentration was ineffective toward microbial growth, but it was a differentiating factor for sensory panel. The dry-salted product smoked with 5% smoke condensate was preferred because it maintained the natural taste of fish, coupled with a pleasant flavor of smoke.

2007 - Evaluation of intolerance to food preservatives by non-invasive biophysical technologies [Articolo su rivista]
Giannazzo, E; Manuele, G; Valenti, S; Licciardello, F; Muratore, G

In this work we evaluated the feasibility of using an unconventional diagnostic procedure based on bioelectrical skin responses referred to as Electro-Acupuncture Diagnostics according to Voll (EAV) based on the variations of conductivity or cutaneous electric potential in correspondance with the points of acupuncture meridians and due to the interaction between the electromagnetic waves, spontaneously emitted by certain substances, and the human organism. This technique could provide a fast, easy, non invasive and sensitive evaluation of the irritating potential of food preservatives. Four of the most commonly used preservatives in food industry (EDTA, lactoferrine, lisozyme and nisin) were assessed on 20 healthy volunteers. This preliminar study pointed out that the tested preservatives can cause intolerance in sensitive individuals, but further studies are needed to consider the effect of concentration of the pure substances, and of food containing such preservatives on determining intolerance.

2007 - Influence of Saccharomyces uvarum on volatile acidity, aromatic sensory profile of Malvasia delle Lipari wine [Articolo su rivista]
Muratore, G; Nicolosi Asmundo, C; Lanza, Mc; Caggia, Cinzia; Licciardello, F; Restuccia, Cristina

The present study investigated chemical and sensory properties of Malvasia delle Lipari DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) wine fermented with a cryotolerant strain of Saccharomyces uvarum, characterized by low levels of acetic acid production. In particular, experimental wine was tested for volatile acidity and for aromatic profile by gas-chromatography and the results were compared with the same wine produced with a commercial strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Sensory analysis was carried out to assess the identification of experimental wine as Malvasia delle Lipari by defining its sensory profile. Fermentation with S. uvarum gave a final product with lower volatile acidity, lower alcohol content and higher total acidity. Moreover, differences in the aroma profile could be ascribed to different characteristics of the yeasts. Concerning sensorial analysis, the panel assigned higher scores in positive attributes to the wine fermented with S. uvarum.

Muratore, G; Licciardello, F

Introduction to SLIM2006 Volume of Proceedings

2006 - Biological control of peach fungal pathogens by commercial products and indigenous yeasts [Articolo su rivista]
Restuccia, C; Giusino, F; Licciardello, F; Randazzo, C; Caggia, C; Muratore, G

The potential use of the commercial biocontrol products Serenade (Bacillus subtilis QST-713) and Trichodex (Trichoderma harzianum Rifai strain T39) to inhibit the postharvest pathogenic molds Penicillium crustosum and Mucor circinelloides was investigated. Both products exhibited antagonistic activity in vitro against the pathogens, reducing their growth at different levels. In addition, epiphytic yeasts isolated from peaches were identified as Candida maltosa, Pichia fermentans, and Pichia kluyveri by PCR–restriction fragment length polymorphism of internal transcribed spacer regions and screened for antagonistic activity against the same molds. The efficacy of biocontrol in vitro was dependent on the concentration of the yeast cells. Optimal yeast concentrations were above 107 CFU ml1. However, C. maltosa and P. fermentans were more effective than P. kluyveri in inhibiting molds. The exclusion of antifungal metabolite production and direct competition for nutrients or space with the pathogens was proposed as the mechanism of biocontrol. Application of biocontrol agents directly on artificially wounded peach fruits significantly reduced the incidence of mold rot during storage at 20C.

2006 - I Microrganismi dell'aceto balsamico. Atti del convegno: "Anche la tradizione va studiata" Risultati di un biennio di indagini per l'individuazione e il possibile impiego di starter per Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale. [Curatela]
Licciardello, Fabio; Falcone, Pasquale Massimiliano; Tagliazucchi, Davide; Giudici, Paolo; Solieri, Lisa; Gullo, Maria; DE VERO, Luciana

Il ruolo e l'importanza dei microrganismi sulla qualità dell'aceto balsamico tradizionale.

2006 - Role of different factors affecting the formation of 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furancarboxaldehyde in heated grape must [Articolo su rivista]
Giudici, Paolo; Giuseppe, Muratore; Licciardello, Fabio; Restuccia, Cristina; MARIA LAURA PUGLISI,

The influence of concentration and water activity (aw) on the formation of 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furancarboxaldehyde (HMF) in thermally treated grape must was evaluated. Must was cryoconcentratedand then heated to study the pure effect of sugar concentration. Moreover, NaCl was addedto the must to lower aw, maintaining the same sugar concentration, with the purpose of evaluatingthe pure effect of aw. Finally, the influence of minimal pH changes on the formation of HMF wasevaluated by means of a model solution. The results showed that aw and sugar concentration areboth determinant in the formation of HMF in grape must. Sugar concentration influences the reactionby supplying substrates; low aw enhances the formation of HMF by changing the equilibrium in thedehydration step of the reaction.

2005 - Biological control of peach fungal pathogens by antagonistic microorganisms [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Restuccia, C; Licciardello, F; Caggia, C; Randazzo, C; Muratore, G; Giusino, F

not available

2005 - Effect of vacuum and modified atmophere packaging on the shelf life of liquid smoked swordfish (Xiphias gladius) slices [Articolo su rivista]
Muratore, G; Licciardello, F

Swordfish fillets, dry-salted and treated with liquid smoke, were sliced and packed in vacuum conditions and under modified atmosphere (MA) (5% O 2, 45% CO2, 50% N2) and stored at chilled temperature (4°C) to determine the effect of different packaging on shelf-life. Sensory attributes, total volatile basic nitrogen (TVB-N), pH, lipid oxidation by thiobarbituric acid test, and microbiological counts were monitored during 45 d of storage. The TVB-N increased to levels recommended by European regulation at the time of sensory rejection, resulting as the most reliable parameter of quality decay. Lipid oxidation was low and microbial counts could not be correlated with quality decay. Sensory rejection (at least 50% of the assessors scoring </=5 in a scale from 1 to 9) was sooner for MA-packed samples (12 d) than for vacuum-packed ones (42 d).

2005 - Evaluation of the chemical quality of a new type of small-sized tomato cultivar, the plum tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum) [Articolo su rivista]
Muratore, G; Licciardello, F; Maccarone, E

The chemical-nutritional attributes were evaluated in plum tomato, a new type of oblong, small-sized tomato that was recently introduced in the European market. Six different cultivars, namely, Dasher, Iride, Navidad, Sabor, 292 and 738, were tested and compared with a cherry-type tomato (cv. Cherubino) which was grown in the same greenhouse under the same conditions. The plum tomato showed important marked differences with respect to the cherry type: more intense red colour, lower acid content and a higher lycopene content. The quality attribute values for cv. 738 were higher than the average values for the other cultivars. In contrast, the cherry-type variety had slightly higher levels of ascorbic acid and b-carotene than the plum tomatoes.

2005 - Formation of furfural in heat treated must for traditional balsamic vinegar. [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Giuseppe, Muratore; Licciardello, Fabio; Cristina, Restuccia; Giudici, Paolo

Formation of furfural in heat treated must for traditional balsamic vinegar.