Nuova ricerca


Personale tecnico amministrativo
Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita sede ex-Agraria
Ricercatore t.d. art. 24 c. 3 lett. A
Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita sede ex-Agraria

Home | Curriculum(pdf) | Didattica |


2023 - Evaluating the impact of drought stress in Nure and Tremois barleys (Hordeum vulgare) treated with plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) at seedling phase [Poster]
Caccialupi, Giovanni; Cattabiani, Nicolò; Nur Avci, Fatma; Milc, Justyna; Francia, Enrico; Caradonia, Federica

Barley is the fifth cultivated herbaceous crop in the world, and its important is due to its economic and nutritional value. Climate change is posing a new challenge to barley production. While drought stress was traditionally associated with the flowering and caryopsis filling stages in barley plants, a new form of drought is now emerging in seedling stage. To mitigate the impact of environmental stresses, plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) have been proposed to promote nutrient absorption and plant growth with the production of a range of beneficial substances, such as phytohormones, organic acids, and enzymes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the genotype response and the impact of PGPR treatment on two cultivars of barley, Nure (Italian feeding barley, winter habitus) and Tremois (French malting barley, spring habitus) in seedling phase under drought stress. At sowing, the soil was treated with PGPR and after two weeks of control condition two different water regimes were applied on seedlings (control at 25% and stressed at 12% of soil moisture). The results showed that both genotypes exhibited analogous stress response, however the PGPR treatment showed different effects on the two cultivars. Specifically, PGPR treatment increased root dry weight in stress conditions in Nure seedlings (by 36.6%) and increased dry weight in control conditions in Tremois seedlings (by 31.1%). Furthermore, the treatment increased the photosynthesis efficiency (PhiPS2) in Tremois seedlings (by 6.2%) and generally in both cultivars (by 7.6%) under drought stress. These findings suggest that the use of PGPR could be a useful tool for protecting barley seedlings against drought stress in early stages of development. However, further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms of action to determine the optimal conditions for using this approach in the field.

2023 - Grafting and Plant Density Influence Tomato Production in Organic Farming System [Articolo su rivista]
Caradonia, F.; Francia, E.; Alfano, V.; Ronga, D.

The tomato is a key crop cultivated worldwide for the fresh and processing markets. Only a small percentage of the tomatoes processed by industries were produced following the guidelines of the organic farming system. Potential reasons for the limited share of organic tomato production are probably related to the lower yield obtained in organic farming in comparison with conventional farming. In this study, the use of the cherry tomato genotype 'Tomito' as a rootstock and two different plant densities (2.5 and 1.25 plant m(-2)) were evaluated in order to improve the agronomic performances of the commercial processing tomato genotype 'H3402 & PRIME; cultivated in the organic farming system. Agronomic and quality parameters were assessed at harvest time. The plant density influenced the plant biometric parameters, mass and marketable yield, and fruit health and quality. The use of a rootstock improved the marketable yield per plant (more than 59%), with the quality of the fruit decreasing the number of sunburnt fruits (-27.7%). The use of the 'Tomito' as a rootstock and a plant density of 2.5 plant m(-2) are the better choices to achieve good performances in optimal environmental conditions. However, further studies are required to validate these results both in other environments and using different scions.

2023 - The Triticeae CBF Gene Cluster—To Frost Resistance and Beyond [Articolo su rivista]
Caccialupi, Giovanni; Milc, Justyna; Caradonia, Federica; Nasar, Muhammad Fazail; Francia, Enrico

2022 - Agronomic and morphological traits affecting tomato yield in organic farming system: a preliminary study [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ronga, Domenico; Caradonia, Federica; Francia, Enrico; Tava, Aldo; Vitelli, R.; Sandei, Luca

2022 - Characterization of Leaf Transcriptome of Grafted Tomato Seedlings after Rhizospheric Inoculation with Azospirillum baldaniorum or Paraburkholderia graminis [Articolo su rivista]
Caradonia, Federica; Buti, Matteo; Flore, Alessia; Gatti, Roberto; Morcia, Caterina; Terzi, Valeria; Ronga, Domenico; Moulin, Lionel; Francia, Enrico; Milc, Justyna Anna

2022 - Effect of foliar fertlizers from fish by-product on growth and development of Lettuce (L. sativa)in green-house conditions [Poster]
Ben Hassine, M.; Caradonia, F.; Milc, J. A.; Caccialupi, G.; Masino, F.; Pulvirenti, A.; Francia, E.; Antonelli, A.

In Liguria Region, as in all coastal areas, fish represents a relevant part of human diet due to its high-quality protein content, low fat content, and importance as a source of vitamins and minerals (Prato and Biandolino, 2015). Therefore, in the contest of circular economy, the huge quantity of fish by-product produced could be a resource instead of an environmental issue, thus producing materials with high added value. Such an example are fertilizers or biostimulants obtained from fish by-product that can be used to increase the sustainability of crops cultivation. Under the frame of project “FISH – Fertilizzante Innovativo Suolo e Habitat” (PSR Regione Liguria 2014 – 2020 Misura 16), the effect of foliar fertilizers obtained from fish by-product were evaluated on the growth and development of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. ‘Summerbel’) in green-house conditions.

2022 - Effects of Fish protein hydrolysate on lettuce growth/development under controlled conditions. [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Mortadha, B. H.; Caradonia, F.; Milc, J. A.; Pulvirenti, A.; Cocchiara, S.; Masino, F.; Antonelli, A.; Francia, Enrico; E., (2022).

2022 - Plant Biostimulants Increase the Agronomic Performance of Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia) in Northern Apennine Range [Articolo su rivista]
Caccialupi, Giovanni; Caradonia, Federica; Ronga, Domenico; BEN HASSINE, Mortadha; Truzzi, Eleonora; Benvenuti, Stefania; Francia, Enrico

Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia) belongs to the Lamiaceae family and is a shrub cultivated in the Mediterranean region for essential oils used to produce cosmetic, aromatherapy, and pharmaceutical ingredients. Nowadays, interest in plant biostimulants is rising due to their ability to increase biomass production in a sustainable way. The scope of the present study was to assess the effects of two plant biostimulants, one based on hydrolyzed proteins (FITOSIM®) and one based on seaweed extracts (FITOSTIM ALGA®), on the cultivar Grosso for two consecutive years in three different farms, located in the Italian Tuscan-Emilian Apennine Mountains. A difference in the efficiency of treatments among farms was shown, probably due to the plant age. In 2020, FITOSTIM ALGA® increased inflorescence fresh weights (+35%), while FITOSTIM® and FITOSTIM ALGA® enhanced stem and total fresh weights (+23% and +22%, respectively) compared to the untreated control. In 2021, both treatments enhanced the fresh and dry weights of inflorescence (+47% and +38%, respectively), while FITOSTIM ALGA® also improved the total plant dry weights (+34%). The plant biostimulants did not affect the chemical composition of essential oils. Our results indicate plant biostimulants as a supplement for sustainable management practices, enhancing Lavandin’s performance in mountainous agricultural areas.

2022 - Plant Biostimulants in Sustainable Potato Production: an Overview [Articolo su rivista]
Caradonia, F.; Ronga, D.; Tava, A.; Francia, E.

In modern agriculture, the reduction of environmental impact, ensuring both high and stable yield and high quality, is a primary goal. To avoid an excessive use of external inputs, without compromising crop performance, the increase of soil nutrient availability and nutrient use efficiency is fundamental in a sustainable potato production. In this framework, the use of plant biostimulants, such as humic substances, seaweed and microalgal extracts, hydrolysed proteins and amino acids and microorganisms, could give a great help to farmers. Due to the agronomic importance and the keen interest in these substances, the aim of this review was to survey and summarise the outputs derived from scientific published studies on the combination of potato and plant biostimulants. In the literature, several in vitro, growth chamber, glasshouse and field experiments were reported. Field experiments were conducted in different environmental conditions, using different genotypes, and all the applied plant biostimulants showed beneficial effects on both productive and qualitative potato parameters. Seaweed extract and humic substances could also reduce the normal dose of fertiliser without reducing yield. Among quality features, tuber size, contents of protein, vitamin C, starch and phenols are the principal parameters influenced by plant biostimulants. Weaknesses related to the use of plant biostimulants were shown and were related to different effectiveness of products due to their origin, production process and microbial species. In addition, product/strain-genotype interactions have been shown. Environmental factor, agricultural practice and timing of treatment can influence the effectiveness of both microbial and non-microbial plant biostimulants.

2022 - Un nuovo biostimolante dai sottoprodotti della filiera ittica [Articolo su rivista]
Caser, M; Masino, F; Gervasio, S; Fassio, F; Ben Hassine, M; Benedetti, P; Caradonia, F; Cocchiara, S; Milc, J. A.; Caccialupi, G; Pulvirenti, A; Antonelli, A; Torri, L; Cevasco, R; Rovera, F; Scariot, V; Francia, E; Bertora, C; Ertani, A; Bertelli, C.

I sottoprodotti della pesca contengono proteine, grassi e amminoacidi, rendendoli così ottimi candidati per la produzione di biostimolanti. Il progetto FiSH (Fertilizzante idrolizzato Suolo e Habitat), al quale collaborano sei aziende agricole liguri, ha come obiettivo lo studio di un idrolizzato proteico fermentato derivato da scarti del pescato sulla crescita, resa e qualità di diverse colture floricole e orticole (Ranunculus asiaticus, Anemone x hybrida ‘Mistral Blu’, Solanum tuberosum ‘Quarantina’, Ocimum basilicum, Cucurbita pepo ‘Trombetta d’Albenga’, Allium sativum e Allium cepa). Durante il primo anno di progetto (2020-2021) sono stati testati in campo quattro concentrazioni (0,3 ml/L, 0,5 ml/L, 1 ml/L e 2 ml/L) del prototipo Fish n.7 in applicazione fogliare. Su patata è stata prevista anche un’applicazione su tubero preimpianto e valutato l’attacco di peronospora (Phytophthora infestans). I risultati ottenuti hanno evidenziato un’ampia variabilità di risposta. Tra le sei varietà di ranuncolo, ‘Elengance bianco’ ha mostrato una tendenza a produrre piante più rigogliose e fiori più grandi in risposta alla dose più elevata di Fish n.7, mentre la dose 0,5 ml/L ha indotto un maggiore sviluppo vegetativo e maggior produzione di rizomi nella varietà ‘Venere’. Su patata i risultati suggeriscono di evitare l’immersione del tubero, di mantenere i trattamenti rameici e di utilizzare concentrazioni < 1 ml/L. Su basilico e zucchina è stata osservata una maggiore produzione di biomassa nelle piante trattate alla concentrazione 2 ml/L. Nessun effetto è emerso in anemone, cipolla e aglio anche se, i dati delle ultime due specie sembrano indicare un beneficio fornito dalla dose 1 ml/L. Sulla base dei risultati, sono in corso valutazioni con otto nuovi prodotti.

2022 - Use of biostimulants to increase biomass production in Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia) cultivated in Tuscan-Emilian Apennines [Poster]
Caccialupi, Giovanni; Caradonia, Federica; BEN HASSINE, Mortadha; Truzzi, Eleonora; Benvenuti, Stefania; Ronga, Domenico; Francia, Enrico

Lavandin Lavandula x intermedia is one the most important perennial aromatic shrub widespread in the Italian marginal areas and is mainly cultivated for essentials oils production. Nowadays, in rural areas, biostimulants are gaining interest as useful product to enhance the biomass production, following the concept of sustainable agriculture. The present work aimed to evaluate the effects on biomass production of two biostimulants on lavandin crop cv “Grosso.” The biostimulants evaluated were: FITOSIM® composed from hydrolysed animal epithelium and FITOSIM ALGA® formulated from brown marine algae. The trial was conducted in three farms located in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine area (Northern Italy). The products were applied as foliar spray fertilization during the blooming phase (weekly, in two times) of the years 2020 and 2021. The crops were transplanted in three different years: at Preci farm in 2016, at Campazzo farm in 2013 and at Pedroni farm in 2009. In the 2020, results showed that FITOSIM ALGA® increased the fresh weight of the inflorescence, moreover FITOSIM® and FITOSIM ALGA® treatments enhanced the stem and total fresh weights compared to the control. In 2021, treatments enhanced the inflorescence and total fresh weights, and the dry weight of the inflorescence, while FITOSTIM ALGA improved only the total plant dry weigh. Furthermore, the results showed that the year of transplant influenced the agronomic performances of the investigated biostimulants. In conclusion, this work suggests the ability of the biostimulants to enhance the biomass production on lavandin crop. However, further investigation will be required to evaluate the most efficient number of treatments, the effect of the biostimulants on yield parameters and on the quality of the essential oils.

2021 - Agronomic comparisons of heirloom and modern processing tomato genotypes cultivated in organic and conventional farming systems [Articolo su rivista]
Ronga, D.; Caradonia, F.; Vitti, A.; Francia, E.

The yield and fruit quality of processing tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.) have increased markedly over the past decades. The aim of this work was to assess the effects of the organic (OFS) and conventional farming systems (CFS) on the main agronomic parameters involved in processing tomato yield components and fruit quality traits of heirloom and modern genotypes. Marketable yield increased from heirloom to modern genotypes, both in OFS and in CFS, showing a difference of ≈20 t per hectare in favor of CFS. Total fruit yield (TY) was not improved from heirloom to modern assessed genotypes, and a difference of ≈35 t per hectare was observed in favor of CFS. In both farming systems, the highest marketable yield of modern genotypes was due to a higher number of fruits per plant, harvest index, nitrogen agronomic efficiency (NAE), and fruit water productivity. Moreover, the main growth parameters involved in the yield differences between OFS and CFS were the number of leaves per plant, the average fruit weight, the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and NAE. It is noteworthy that fruit quality improvement in terms of color and brix per hectare was paralleled by a decrease of tomato pH in both farming systems. According to our results, we conclude that to reduce the current yield gap between OFS and CFS, agronomic and breeding efforts should be undertaken to increase leaf area index, fruit number per plant, and NAE for better genotype adaptation to organic farming systems.

2020 - Biostimulants and cherry rootstock increased tomato fruit yield and quality in sustainable farming systems [Articolo su rivista]
Caradonia, F.; Ronga, D.; Flore, A.; Barbieri, R.; Moulin, L.; Terzi, V.; Francia, E.

Nowadays one of the main challenges in agriculture is to increase crop yield and quality in a sustainable way. Organic farming system (OFS) is considered more eco-friendly than the conventional farming system (CFS). However, cash crops showed a reduced yield when cultivated in OFS, and among them processing tomato reported the highest yield gap between OFS and CFS. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate, both in greenhouse and field experiments, the combined effects of a cherry rootstock, genotype ‘Tomito’, and the applications of different microbial biostimulants (single species and consortia). The agronomic performance of a commercial processing tomato genotype, ‘H3402’, was assessed in order to increase fruit yield and quality in sustainable farming systems. In greenhouse experiment, the use of ‘Tomito’ as rootstock highlighted both the highest plant height (35 e cm) and leaf chlorophyll content (25.20), while plants inoculated with A. brasiliensis showed the highest number of flowers (4.5). In field experiment, the combined use of grafting and microbial biostimulants increased marketable (on average 2.3 kg plant–1) and total yields (on average 2.5 kg plant–1) in comparison with the genotype ‘H3402’. All the investigated treatments reduced the number of fruits affected by blossom-end rot (on average-4.7 fruits plant–1), and A. brasiliensis also improved the fruit solid soluble content, recording values of 6.23 °Brix and 3.54 of Brix t ha–1.

2020 - Interspecific rootstock can enhance yield of processing tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.) in organic farming [Articolo su rivista]
Caradonia, F.; Francia, E.; Barbieri, R.; Setti, L.; Hagassou, D.; Ronga, D.

At present, consumer concern about the impact of food production on the environment is driving increased demand for high quality and healthy tomatoes. However, the yield of processing tomatoes in organic systems are generally lower than that in conventional systems and only a limited number of genotypes suitable for low input or organic systems are available for farmers. The technique of grafting commercial genotypes onto selected rootstocks offers a faster alternative to the classic breeding process. Therefore, in this study, the use of the interspecific rootstock RS01658654 (RT1) was assessed, aiming to improve the marketable yield of processing tomatoes grown in an organic cropping system. The non-commercial processing tomato genotype TC266 was grafted onto the interspecific rootstock RT1 and the plants were then grown under organic conditions. In two growing seasons, morphological, physiological and agronomic performances of grafted processing tomato plants were compared to non-grafted and self-grafted plants. TC226 grafted onto RT1 had a higher number of flowers and leaves compared with the non-grafted and the self-grafted plants. In addition, the marketable yield (significant in 2017 only), the number of fruits and the fruit dry weight were higher for plants grown on the interspecific rootstock RT1, without affecting the quality of the fruit. The results of this study showed that the use of the interspecific rootstock RT1 could provide a good option for improving the production of processing tomatoes in organic farming.

2020 - Using digestate and biochar as fertilizers to improve processing tomato production sustainability [Articolo su rivista]
Ronga, D.; Caradonia, F.; Parisi, M.; Bezzi, G.; Parisi, B.; Allesina, G.; Pedrazzi, S.; Francia, E.

The principal goal of the organic farming system (OFS) is to develop enterprises that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment. Unfortunately, the OFS yields fewer products per land than the non-organic farming system in many agricultural products. The objective of our study was to assess the effects of digestate and biochar fertilizers on yield and fruit quality of processing tomato produced under the OFS. The experiment was carried out in Po Valley, during the 2017 and 2018 growing seasons. Liquid digestate (LD), LD + biochar (LD + BC) and pelleted digestate (PD) were evaluated and compared to biochar (BC) application and unfertilized control. The results showed that plants fertilized with LD + BC recorded the maximum marketable yield (72 t ha-1), followed by BC (67 t ha-1), PD (64 t ha-1) and LD (59 t ha-1); while the lowest production (47 t ha-1) was recorded in unfertilized plants. Over the two cropping seasons, LD + BC, BC, PD, and LD, increased fruit number per plant (+15%), fruit weight (+24%), Brix t ha-1 (+41%) and reduced Bostwick index (-16%), if compared to the untreated control. Considering the overall agronomic performances, digestate and biochar can be useful options for increasing yield and quality of processing tomato production in the OFS. Hence, these fertilizers can be assessed in future research both on other crops and farming systems.

2019 - Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria Avoid Processing Tomato Leaf Damage during Chilling Stress [Articolo su rivista]
Caradonia, F.; Francia, E.; Morcia, C.; Ghizzoni, R.; Moulin, L.; Terzi, V.; Ronga, D.

Chilling stress limits processing tomato growth and yield, leading to high losses. An approach to increase the sustainability of crop production could involve the use of beneficial microorganisms. The objectives of this research were to investigate: (i) the ecacy of Funneliformis mosseae and Paraburkholderia graminis C4D1M in avoiding processing tomato damage during severe chilling stress; (ii) the synergic eect of the two microorganisms inoculated as a consortium; (iii) if the putative microorganism eects depended on the processing tomato genotype. To achieve these objectives, two experiments were carried out. In the first experiment, a modern genotype was assessed, while three genotypes were evaluated in the second experiment. At sowing, F. mosseae was mixed with peat. Nine days after sowing, P. graminis was inoculated close to the plant’s root collar. After 40 days of seed sowing, chilling treatment was performed at 1 C for 24 h. F. mosseae mainly reduced the cell membrane injuries in term of electrolytic leakage and eciency of photosystem II, after the chilling stress in both experiments. Conversely, in the second experiment, the consortium improved the seedling regrowth, increasing the eciency of photosystem II. In addition, modern genotypes inoculated with microorganisms showed a better seedling regrowth.

2019 - Changes in yield components, morphological, physiological and fruit quality traits in processing tomato cultivated in Italy since the 1930’s [Articolo su rivista]
Ronga, Domenico; Francia, Enrico; Rizza, Fulvia; Badeck, Franz-W.; Caradonia, Federica; Montevecchi, Giuseppe; Pecchioni, Nicola

Yield of processing tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) increased (∼50%) in Italy since the 1930’s. The aim of this work was to assess the changes in yield components associated with morphological, physiological and fruit quality traits in processing tomato cultivars cropped in Italy from the mid-1930s until nowadays, introduced by breeding in six representative cultivars. Marketable yield showed an increase of 0.6% per year of release since the 1930’s. The highest marketable yield was obtained in modern cultivars due to a higher harvest index, fruit number and the ratio between ripe fruit and total fruit in comparison with the old ones. However, no single trait drove the highest marketable yield in modern cultivars. In fact, both morphological (smaller plant height and leaf area index) and physiological (accelerated plant senescence, higher leaf nitrogen status, and lower potential plant water and chlorophyll contents) traits contributed to increase marketable yield in modern cultivars. Moreover, total plant dry weight (shoot+fruit) of a single plant decreased, whereas its total fruit fresh weight and fruit dry matter content were stable and not correlated with the year of release, thus suggesting that a higher sink strength and homogeneity of fruit ripening were also involved in the highest marketable yield showed by modern cultivars. A great effort of breeders was done in the improvement of important fruit quality traits required by Italian canning industries. Fruit colour and Brix yield were positively correlated with the year of release, while viscosity and total carotenoids were negatively correlated with the year of release. However, no improvement was achieved for important traits such as soluble solids content, fruit dry weight and total fruit yield, which instead should be considered in the future breeding programmes, to improve both yield and quality of processing tomato.

2019 - Effects of innovative biofertilizers on yield of processing tomato cultivated in organic cropping systems in northern Italy [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ronga, D.; Caradonia, F.; Setti, L.; Hagassou, D.; Giaretta Azevedo, C. V.; Milc, J.; Pedrazzi, S.; Allesina, G.; Arru, L.; Francia, E.

Nowadays agriculture needs to increase crop sustainability and the organic cropping system has emerged as an interesting alternative approach with respect to the conventional one. On the other hand, the current unfavorable yield gap between organic and conventional systems reduces the organic system’s value. Processing tomato is a globally important horticultural crop and used as crop model. The objective of this study was to investigate different biofertilizers that could improve the yield and quality of processing tomato in organic cropping system. An experiment was conducted in Po Valley, northern Italy, during spring-summer 2017. The cultivar used was ‘Barone Rosso’ blocky fruit genotype, using 2.8 plants m-2, in randomized complete block design with seven biofertilizer treatments (pelleted digestate, granular biofertilizer, biochar, compost tea as foliar spray biostimulant, SiO2 as foliar spray biostimulant, compost tea + SiO2 as foliar spray biostimulant, zero biofertilizer as a control) and three replications. Agronomical and physiological parameters were recorded during the crop cycle. Results showed that tomato grown with biochar recorded the maximum commercial yield (136 t ha-1), followed by pelleted digestate (117 t ha-1) and compost tea + SiO2 as foliar spray biostimulant (113 t ha-1) while the minimum production (71 t ha-1) was recorded in untreated plots. On average, the results revealed that biochar, pelleted digestate and compost tea + SiO2 as foliar spray biostimulant, increased the vegetative vigor of plant (+10%), the number of flowers (+13%) and fruits (+41%), the average weight of fruits (+20%), the total biomass production (+48%), the harvest index (+15%) and the Brix t ha-1 (+49%), with respect to the control. Considering the overall performance, innovative biofertilizers could be promising to improve yield and quality of processing tomato cultivated in organic cropping systems, reducing the yield gap with conventional one.

2019 - Interaction of tomato genotypes and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi under reduced irrigation [Articolo su rivista]
Ronga, D.; Caradonia, F.; Francia, E.; Morcia, C.; Rizza, F.; Badeck, F.; Ghizzoni, R.; Terzi, V.

Climate change is increasing drought events and decreasing water availability. Tomato is commonly transplanted to an open field after seedling production in a nursery, requiring large volumes of water. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi help plants cope with drought stress; however, their effects depend on plant genotype and environmental conditions. In this study, we assessed the interactions among different tomato seedling genotypes and two AM fungi, Funneliformis mosseae and Rhizophagus intraradices, under two water regimes, full and reduced. Our results showed that F. mosseae was more effective than R. intraradices in the mitigation of drought stress both in old and modern genotypes. However, seedlings inoculated with R. intraradices recorded the highest values of leaf area. ‘Pearson’ and ‘Everton’ genotypes inoculated with F. mosseae recorded the highest values of root, leaf, and total dry weights under full and reduced irrigation regimes, respectively. In addition, ‘Pearson’ and ‘H3402’ genotypes inoculated with F. mosseae under a reduced irrigation regime displayed high values of water use efficiency. Our results highlight the importance of using AM fungi to mitigate drought stress in nursery production of tomato seedlings. However, the development of ad hoc AM fungal formulations, which consider genotype x AM fungi interactions, is fundamental for achieving the best agronomic performances.

2019 - Nitrogen fertilizers shape the composition and predicted functions of the microbiota of field-grown tomato plants [Articolo su rivista]
Caradonia, F.; Ronga, D.; Catellani, M.; Giaretta Azevedo, C. V.; Terrazas, R. A.; Robertson-Albertyn, S.; Francia, E.; Bulgarelli, D.

The microbial communities thriving at the root_soil interface have the potential to improve plant growth and sustainable crop production. Yet, how agricultural practices, such as the application of either mineral or organic nitrogen fertilizers, impact on the composition and functions of these communities remains to be fully elucidated. By deploying a two-pronged 16S rRNA gene sequencing and predictive metagenomics approach, we demonstrated that the bacterial microbiota of field-grown tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants is the product of a selective process that progressively differentiates between rhizosphere and root microhabitats. This process initiates as early as plants are in a nursery stage and it is then more marked at late developmental stages, in particular at harvest. This selection acts on both the bacterial relative abundances and phylogenetic assignments, with a bias for the enrichment of members of the phylum Actinobacteria in the root compartment. Digestate-based and mineral-based nitrogen fertilizers trigger a distinct bacterial enrichment in both rhizosphere and root microhabitats. This compositional diversification mirrors a predicted functional diversification of the root-inhabiting communities, manifested predominantly by the differential enrichment of genes associated to ABC transporters and the two-component system. Together, our data suggest that the microbiota thriving at the tomato root_soil interface is modulated by and in responses to the type of nitrogen fertilizer applied to the field.

2019 - Use of black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens (L.), Diptera: Stratiomyidae) larvae processing residue in peat-based growing media [Articolo su rivista]
Setti, Leonardo; Francia, Enrico; Pulvirenti, Andrea; Gigliano, Silvia; Zaccardelli, Massimo; Pane, Catello; Caradonia, Federica; Bortolini, Sara; Maistrello, Lara; Ronga, Domenico

The Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens(L.), Diptera: Stratiomyidae) is an insect whose larvae thrive onagro-industrial by-products. This study reports the first use of black soldier fly larvae processing residue(BSPR) as an innovative ingredient for growing media. BSPR was characterized and evaluated to partiallyreplace commercial peat (CP) in the production of potted plants. Chemical and microbiological analysisshowed the suitability of BSPR for soilless production. Hence, six growing media mixtures (CP 100%+ slow acting synthetic solid fertilizer, CP 90% + BSPR 10%, CP 80% + BSPR 20%, CP 70% + BSPR 30%, CP60% + BSPR 40% and CP 100% without fertilizer) were assessed for the production of baby leaf lettuce,basil and tomato potted plants. Using BSPR in a proportion up to 20%, all investigated crops showed val-ues significantly greater than or comparable to those obtained using CP 100% + slow acting synthetic solidfertilizer. In general, BSPR used in a proportion up to 20% increased the crop growth of baby leaf lettuce,basil and tomato, recording a high total dry weight (+31%, compared to the total average) and the mea-sured leaf parameters (+39% of leaf area, +14% of leaf number), without showing abiotic stresses. Thisstudy indicates that BSPR used in a proportion up to 20% might be a valid approach for soilless productionof potted baby leaf lettuce, basil and tomato plants.

2018 - Evaluation of two groups of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) accessions with different seed colours for adaptation to the Mediterranean environment [Articolo su rivista]
De Santis, Giuditta; Ronga, Domenico; Caradonia, Federica; Ambrosio, Tiziana D.; Troisi, Jacopo; Rascio, Agata; Fragasso, Mariagiovanna; Pecchioni, Nicola; Rinaldi, Michele

Agronomic and seed-quality traits in 17 quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) accessions grouped according to seed colour (i.e. ochre and yellow) were investigated and compared with the white commercial cultivar Regalona-Baer. These accessions were previously selected from a range of accessions of diverse origin and seed colour for their potential value in a breeding program for cultivars adapted to the southern Italian environment. Field trials were conducted over 2 years in Foggia, southern Italy. The aim was to identify elite genotypes suited to the Mediterranean Basin in terms of high yields and seed quality, by using principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical cluster analysis. The genotype and year effects were statistically significant for most parameters investigated, whereas the genotype × year interaction was significant only for seed quality. There were significant differences between the two seed-colour groups for most of the investigated traits, but not for total dry weight, days to flowering, and soluble and insoluble fibre. The major difference between the accessions and cv. Regalona-Baer was lower seed yield for the ochre seed group (30% lower, on average); this was associated with increased plant height (13% higher, on average), greater number of days to maturity (+6 days, on average) and shorter panicle length (21% shorter, on average). These results were observed for both growing seasons. The seed yield of the yellow seed group was similar to Regalona-Baer. Focusing on individual accessions, PCA indicated that accessions Q12, Q18 and Q26 were similar to Regalona-Baer for seed yield, 1000-seed weight, seed area and seed perimeter, and accession Q4 had the highest protein and kaempferol contents for both years. Seed area and perimeter, harvest index, and 1000-seed weight showed positive associations with seed yield, whereas days to flowering, days to maturity and quality traits were negatively correlated with seed yield for both years. Cluster analysis carried out on all of the agronomic and seed-quality traits did not show clear clustering of the accessions based on seed colour alone. The results of this study confirm that both the ochre and yellow quinoa seed groups included elite accessions that can be used directly in future selection programs for the development of high-yielding varieties well adapted to the Mediterranean environment.

2017 - Digestato solido compostato per la propagazione della vite [Articolo su rivista]
Ronga, Domenico; Setti, Leonardo; Hagassou, Djangsou; Caradonia, Federica; Zaghi, Massimo; Bezzi, Guido; Francia, Enrico; Bignami, Cristina

La ricerca, che si inserisce nel progetto VADISAVI (VAlorizzazione del DIgestato e dei SArmenti di Vite), finanziato dal Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita sui Fondi di Ateneo per la Ricerca (FAR 2015), si è posto l’obiettivo di valutare un nuovo substrato di coltivazione a base di digestato compostato con sarmenti per la produzione e l’allevamento di viti in vaso nei primi anni di crescita.. L’individuazione di substrati innovativi, in sostituzione della torba, rappresenta un fattore fondamentale per la strutturazione di economie circolari, in quanto consente un recupero dei sottoprodotti delle filiere agricole e agroalimentari, valorizzandoli, e la riduzione del consumo di una risorsa non rinnovabile e ormai disponibile in quantità limitate. Sono stati quindi testati tre substrati nei quali parte della torba è stata sostituita con diverse percentuali di compost (10, 20 e 40%), a confronto con substrati costituiti di sola torba (100%) e torba fertilizzata, comunemente utilizzati nel vivaismo viticolo. I nuovi substrati non hanno determinato problemi di carenze o di fitotossicità. La tesi 100% torba + fertilizzante ha mostrato i valori più elevati di indici di clorofilla (valore SPAD e Chl) e NBI e di altezza delle piante. Tuttavia, anche tutti i substrati in cui la torba è stata parzialmente sostituita hanno dato risultati soddisfacenti con tutte le tipologie di materiali vegetali testati: barbatelle, innesti-talea radicata, piante di due anni.

Ronga, Domenico; Caradonia, Federica; Setti, Leonardo; Hagassou, Djangsou; Arru, Laura; Forti, Luca; Endrighi, Emiro; Bazzani, Grassi G.; Francia, Enrico

La canapa (Cannabis sativa L.) è una pianta utilizzata per molteplici usi. In Europa, tra il XVI e il XVII secolo, era una delle colture principali impiegate per la produzione di fibre tessili. Già a partire da fine ‘800 la mancata industrializzazione, il proibizionismo e la disponibilità di nuove fibre più competitive hanno portato al declino della canapicoltura. Negli ultimi anni però, caratteristiche positive quali il basso impatto ambientale, la capacità di ridurre il consumo dei suoli, le basse esigenze colturali, nonché il suo possibile uso in diversi settori (alimentare, erboristico, della bioedilizia, ecc.) hanno portato a riconsiderare la sua coltivazione. La canapa, infatti, è una coltura dinamica che si adatta a diverse condizioni agro-ambientali e che non ha grandi esigenze idriche, nutritive e fitosanitarie. Pertanto, potrebbe essere coltivata con buone rese anche in ambienti marginali come ad esempio quelli dell’Appennino emiliano. Lo scopo di questo studio è stato quello di valutare l’adattamento di diverse cultivar moderne di canapa in un’azienda sperimentale biologica, situata nell’Appennino dell’Emilia centrale, per la produzione di infiorescenze da destinare all’estrazione di oli essenziali. La prova è stata effettuata nel 2016 presso l’azienda dell’Istituto “Lazzaro Spallanzani”, Montombraro (Modena). Tre diverse cultivar, Uso 31, Futura 75 e Fedora 17, sono state seminate nella seconda decade di giugno secondo uno schema sperimentale a blocchi completamente randomizzati. Durante la prova non sono stati utilizzati fertilizzanti e prodotti fitosanitari ed è stata effettuata solo un’irrigazione di soccorso all’emergenza. Sono stati poi rilevati i seguenti parametri: emergenza piante, altezza della pianta, diametro colletto, biomassa aerea fresca (di infiorescenze, fusti e foglie), indice relativo al contenuto in clorofilla mediante SPAD-502. Dai rilievi effettuati è emerso che tutte e 3 le cultivar si sono adattate bene alle condizioni di coltivazione ma la cultivar Futura 75 è quella che si è adattata meglio all’ambiente di coltivazione ed ha mostrato una produzione di biomassa fresca di infiorescenze superiore alle altre 2 cultivar. Sono in corso prove di estrazione degli oli essenziali dai campioni di biomassa raccolti mediante distillatore. La possibilità di poter coltivare la canapa potrebbe da un lato migliorare il reddito dell’agricoltore e dall’altro avere effetti positivi sull’agro-ecosistema permettendo così il rilancio e la valorizzazione delle aree dell’Appennino emiliano.

2017 - Risultati positivi su qualità e rese con l’uso di digestato in vigna [Articolo su rivista]
Ronga, Domenico; Bignami, Cristina; Setti, Leonardo; Laviano, Luca; Hagassou, Djangsou; Caradonia, Federica; Zaghi Massimo, Bezzi; Francia, Enrico; Pecchioni, Nicola

L’individuazione di fertilizzanti organici innovativi, derivati dal recupero di sottoprodotti delle filiere agricole e agroalimentari, rappresenta un fattore fondamentale per la strutturazione di economie circolari reali. In questa ottica, due fertilizzanti innovativi a base di digestato da impianti di biogas ottenuti anche con l’utilizzo di sottoprodotti della vinificazione sono stati applicati in vigneti dell’Emilia-Romagna sul vitigno Lambrusco salamino per verificarne gli effetti sulla resa produttiva, sulla fermentazione del mosto e sulla qualità del vino, a confronto con fertilizzanti minerale e organo minerale commerciali. Le prove hanno evidenziato che l'impiego dei nuovi formulati costituisce una valida alternativa ai fertilizzanti commerciali classici, in quanto rese produttive, dinamica di fermentazione del mosto e qualità dei vini ottenuti non sono stati alterati dal loro utilizzo. L’impiego di fertilizzanti ottenuti da sottoprodotti della vinificazione permette, inoltre, di creare una vera e propria filiera agroalimentare circolare.