Fondazione Edmund Mach - Istituto Agrario San Michele All'Adige
Recent publications
Consumers around the world prefer high quality table grapes. To achieve higher quality traits at ripening, grapevine producers apply different plant growth regulators. The synthetic cytokinin forchlorfenuron N–(2–chloro–4–pyridinyl)–N’–phenylurea (CPPU) is widely used, its effect on grape quality is poorly understood. We hypothesized that the use of CPPU in pre-flowering can lead to changes in the metabolism that affects grape quality at harvest. Therefore, we investigated the role of CPPU applications on the quality of grapes by integrating proteomics and metabolomics. CPPU-treated grapevines showed a significant increase in berry size and firmness. Proteomic analyses indicated that CPPU-treated berries accumulated enzymes associated with carbohydrate metabolism, glycolysis, and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle at harvest. Metabolomic analyses showed shifts in the abundance of compounds associated with carbohydrate metabolism and TCA cycle in CPPU-treated grapes. These findings suggest that CPPU applications modulate central carbon metabolism, improving grape berry quality.
The study of polysulfides has been a recent topic of interest for wine research due to the possibility of these compounds to release hydrogen sulfide (H2S) during storage. However, studying these compounds has been challenging for several reasons. Polysulfides are low in concentration in natural samples, they are chemically unstable and pure standards of the single compounds (RSnR with n > 2) are not commercially available. In the present study, a method was developed in order to collect a single polysulfide and study its degradation and the consequent formation of H2S. For this approach, ultra-high pressure liquid chromatography was used with an integrated fraction collector and subsequently coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry. After fractionation, the degradation of the di-cysteinyl pentasulfide (CS5C) was induced by exposure to 30 °C and the H2S formation was measured in parallel using ion-exchange chromatography. This method showed the evolutions of different polysulfides and the H2S release originating from the target compound, an observation that to the best of our knowledge has never been made before. The method in the present study demonstrated promising applications for polysulfide studies and brought us a step closer to the understanding of the chemistry of polysulfides in wine.
Laboratory-quantified spatial memory and subsequent free-ranging movements show how learning about space and establishing familiar areas increase fitness in pheasants.
Previous studies demonstrated that variability in oral processing behaviors impacts bolus properties and consequently texture and flavor perception. However, most studies followed a prescribed mastication protocol during the products’ sensory evaluations. A better understanding of how variability in habitual eating behavior impacts sensory perception of foods is needed. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of habitual eating speed (slow vs. fast eaters) on dynamic sensory perception of composite foods. Habitual oral processing behavior of different composite foods was quantified in 105 participants. Participants were divided in fast (n = 53) and slow (n = 52) eaters using a median split. Three formulations of strawberry jams varying in viscosity and sugar content (High Sugar/Low Pectin [Control], High Sugar/High Pectin, Low Sugar/Low Pectin) were used. Composite foods were prepared by spreading jams on breads. Dynamics of dominant sensory attributes of strawberry jams presented with and without breads were evaluated using Temporal Dominance of Sensations (TDS). Dynamic sensory perception of jams and jam–bread combinations differed only slightly for short periods of time between habitual slow and fast eaters. The addition of breads to jams reduced especially the ability of the fast eaters to discriminate between jams differing in formulation. Slow eaters discriminated between different formulations of jams better than fast eaters, regardless of whether jams were presented alone or in combination with breads. We conclude that differences in habitual eating speed between consumers lead to small differences in dynamic sensory perception and discrimination ability of composite foods.
Climate change is deeply impacting the food chain production, lowering quality and yield. In this context, the international scientific community has dedicated many efforts to enhancing resilience and sustainability in agriculture. Italy is among the main European producers of several fruit trees; therefore, national research centers and universities undertook several initiatives to maintain the specificity of the ‘Made in Italy’ label. Despite their importance, fruit crops are suffering from difficulties associated with the conventional breeding approaches, especially in terms of financial commitment, land resources availability, and long generation times. The ‘new genomic techniques’ (NGTs), renamed in Italy as ‘technologies for assisted evolution’ (TEAs), reduce the time required to obtain genetically improved cultivars while precisely targeting specific DNA sequences. This review aims to illustrate the role of the Italian scientific community in the use of NGTs, with a specific focus on Citrus, grapevine, apple, pear, chestnut, strawberry, peach, and kiwifruit. For each crop, the key genes and traits on which the scientific community is working, as well as the technological improvements and advancements on the regeneration of local varieties, are presented. Lastly, a focus is placed on the legal aspects in the European and in Italian contexts.
Bacterial diseases in woody plants are best characterized for ornamental and fruit trees and much less is known for forest trees. There are many diseases of forest trees whose etiology remains to be clarified and likely more bacterial diseases of forest trees will be discovered in the next few years. An overview of the main bacterial pathogens that cause diseases in forest and ornamental trees is described in this chapter and the general differences between fungal and bacterial diseases are outlined. For bacteria pathogenic to trees, six types of diseases are described: Bacterial blight diseases, represented by Erwinia amylovora, the fireblight disease; Bacterial wilt disease, represented by Ralstonia solanacearum species complex; root and stem galls of trees, represented by Agrobacterium tumefaciens; wetwood disease, caused by several bacterial genera like Clostridium, Bacillus, Enterobacter, Klebsiella, and Pseudomonas, Xanthomonas, and Pantoea; bacterial scorch disease represented by Xylella fastidiosa with all its subspecies; bacterial canker represented by Pseudomonas syringae with all its pathovars. Finally, the current diagnostic methods and specific issues related to bacteria detection, together with the main results of the scientific efforts and challenges in the genetic breeding to increase bacterial resistance of trees, are outlined.
One of the organ-specific functions of the liver is the excretion of bilirubin into the bile. Membrane transport of bilirubin from the blood to the liver is not only an orphan function, because there is no link to the protein/gene units that perform this function, but also a poorly characterised function. The aim of this study was to investigate the pharmacology of bilirubin uptake in the liver of the female Wistar rat to improve basic knowledge in this neglected area of liver physiology. We treated isolated perfused livers of female rats with repeated single-pass, albumin-free bilirubin boli. We monitored both bilirubin and bilirubin glucuronide in perfusion effluent with a bio-fluorometric assay. We tested the ability of nine molecules known as substrates or inhibitors of sinusoidal membrane transporters to inhibit hepatic uptake of bilirubin. We found that cyanidin 3-glucoside and malvidin 3-glucoside were the only molecules that inhibited bilirubin uptake. These dietary anthocyanins resemble bromosulfophthalein (BSP), a substrate of several sinusoidal membrane transporters. The SLCO-specific substrates estradiol-17 beta-glucuronide, pravastatin, and taurocholate inhibited only bilirubin glucuronide uptake. Cyanidin 3-glucoside and taurocholate acted at physiological concentrations. The SLC22-specific substrates indomethacin and ketoprofen were inactive. We demonstrated the existence of a bilirubin-glucuronide transporter inhibited by bilirubin, a fact reported only once in the literature. The data suggest that bilirubin and bilirubin glucuronide are transported to the liver via pharmacologically distinct membrane transport pathways. Some dietary anthocyanins may physiologically modulate the uptake of bilirubin into the liver.
Modelling and large-scale mapping of forest aboveground biomass (AGB) is a complicated, challenging and expensive task. There are considerable variations in forest characteristics that creates functional disparity for different models and needs comprehensive evaluation. Moreover, the human-bias involved in the process of modelling and evaluation affects the generalization of models at larger scales. In this paper, we present an automated machine learning (AutoML) framework for modelling, evaluation and stacking of multiple base models for AGB prediction. We incorporate a hyperparameter optimization procedure for automatic extraction of targeted features from multitemporal Sentinel-2 data that minimizes human-bias in the proposed modelling pipeline. We integrate the two independent frameworks for automatic feature extraction and automatic model ensembling and evaluation. The results suggest that the extracted target-oriented features have excessive contribution of red-edge and short-wave infrared spectrum. The feature importance scale indicates a dominant role of summer based features as compared to other seasons. The automated ensembling and evaluation framework produced a stacked ensemble of base models that outperformed individual base models in accurately predicting forest AGB. The stacked ensemble model delivered the best scores of {R^{2}_{cv}=0.71 and RMSE = 74.44 Mg ha-1 . The other base models delivered {R^{2}_{cv} and RMSE ranging between 0.38–0.66 and 81.27–109.44 Mg ha-1 respectively. The model evaluation metrics indicated that the stacked ensemble model was more resistant to outliers and achieved a better generalization. Thus, the proposed study demonstrated an effective automated modelling pipeline for predicting AGB by minimizing human-bias and deployable over large and diverse forest areas.
Citation: Celva, R.; Crestanello, B.; Obber, F.; Dellamaria, D.; Trevisiol, K.; Bregoli, M.; Cenni, L.; Agreiter, A.; Danesi, P.; Hauffe, H.C.; et al. Assessing Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) Demographics to Monitor Wildlife Diseases: A Spotlight on Echinococcus multilocularis. Pathogens 2023, 12, 60. Abstract: The assessment of red fox population density is considered relevant to the surveillance of zoonotic agents vectored by this species. However, density is difficult to estimate reliably, since the ecological plasticity and elusive behavior of this carnivore hinder classic methods of inference. In this study, red fox population density was estimated using a non-invasive molecular spatial capture-recapture (SCR) approach in two study areas: one in a known hotspot of the zoonotic cestode Echinococcus multilocularis, and another naïve to the parasite. Parasitological investigations on collected samples confirmed the presence of the parasite exclusively in the former area; the SCR results indicated a higher fox population density in the control area than in the hotspot, suggesting either that the relationship between fox density and parasite prevalence is not linear and/or the existence of other latent factors supporting the parasitic cycle in the known focus. In addition, fox spotlight count data for the two study areas were used to estimate the index of kilometric abundance (IKA). Although this method is cheaper and less time-consuming than SCR, IKA values were the highest in the areas with the lower molecular SCR density estimates, confirming that IKA should be regarded as a relative index only.
Citation: Alijani, Z.; Amini, J.; Karimi, K.; Pertot, I. Characterization of the Mechanism of Action of Serratia rubidaea Mar61-01 against Botrytis cinerea in Strawberries. Plants 2023, 12, 154. https://doi. Abstract: Several bacterial strains belonging to Serratia spp. possess biocontrol capability, both against phytopathogens and human pathogenic species, thanks to the production of secondary metabolites, including as a red-pink, non-diffusible pigment, 2-methyl-3-pentyl-6-methoxyprodiginine (prodi-giosin). Botrytis cinerea is the causal agent of gray mold, which is an economically relevant disease of many crops worldwide. Gray mold is normally controlled by chemical fungicides, but the environmental and health concerns about the overuse of pesticides call for environmentally friendly approaches, such as the use of biocontrol agents. In this study, the efficacy of a specific strain of Serra-tia rubidaea (Mar61-01) and its metabolite prodigiosin were assessed against B. cinerea under in vitro and in vivo conditions. This strain was effective against B. cinerea, and the effect of prodigiosin was confirmed under in vitro and in vivo conditions. The strain suppressed mycelial growth of B. cinerea (71.72%) in the dual-culture method. The volatile compounds produced by the strain inhibited mycelial growth and conidia germination of B. cinerea by 65.01% and 71.63%, respectively. Efficacy of prodigiosin produced by S. rubidaea Mar61-01 on mycelial biomass of B. cinerea was 94.15% at the highest concentration tested (420 µg/mL). The effect of prodigiosin on plant enzymes associated with induction of resistance was also studied, indicating that the activity of polyphenol oxidase (PPO), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) were increased when prodigiosin was added to the B. cinerea inoculum on strawberry fruits, while catalase (CAT) and peroxidase (POD) did not change. In addition, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced by S. rubidaea Mar61-01 reduced mycelial growth and inhibited conidial germination of B. cinerea in vitro. The findings confirmed the relevant role of prodigiosin produced by S. rubidaea Mar61-01 in the biocontrol of B. cinerea of strawberries, but also indicate that there are multiple mechanisms of action, where the VOCs produced by the bacterium and the plant-defense reaction may contribute to the control of the phytopathogen. Serratia rubidaea Mar61-01 could be a suitable strain, both to enlarge our knowledge about the potential of Serratia as a biocontrol agent of B. cinerea and to develop new biofungicides to protect strawberries in post-harvest biocontrol.
The aim of this paper is to provide a detailed characterisation of grape lipidome. To achieve this objective, it starts by describing a pipeline implemented in R software to allow the semi-automatic annotation of the detected lipid species. It also provides an extensive description of the different properties of each molecule (such as retention time dependencies, mass accuracy, adduct formation and fragmentation patterns), which allowed the annotations to be made more accurately. Most annotated lipids in the grape samples were (lyso)glycerophospholipids and glycerolipids, although a few free fatty acids, hydroxyceramides and sitosterol esters were also observed. The proposed pipeline also allowed the identification of a series of methylated glycerophosphates never previously observed in grapes. The current results highlight the importance of expanding chemical analyses beyond the classical lipid categories.
Background and Aims. Grapevine is susceptible to several diseases and requires a large use of fungicides. Sustainable alternatives must be safe for humans and the environment and also should not interfere with must fermentation. The aim of this study was to implement the use of a rare sugar, tagatose, against powdery mildew and downy mildew and to assess possible side effects on Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation. Methods and Results. Tagatose was evaluated for the suppression of powdery mildew and downy mildew under controlled and field conditions and for its impact on S. cerevisiae fermentation of synthetic and grape musts. Tagatose applied at 8 kg/hareduced powdery mildew and downy mildew severity and incidence on grapevine leaves and bunches under field conditions. Tagatose caused a limited and transient slowdown of the fermentation with no negative impact on yeast viability and wine chemical composition at the end of the fermentation. Conclusions. Tagatose is a promising alternative for sustainable grapevine protection against powdery mildew and downy mildew with no negative impacts on the must fermentation. Significance of the Study. These findings pave the way for grapevine protection strategies based on the use of rare sugars as sustainable fungicides in integration with other plant protection products.
Gas sensors play an important role in many areas of human life, including the monitoring of production processes, occupational safety, food quality assessment, and air pollution monitoring. Therefore, the need for gas sensors to monitor hazardous gases, such as ammonia, at low operating temperatures has become increasingly important in many fields. Sensitivity, selectivity, low cost, and ease of production are crucial characteristics for creating a capillary network of sensors for the protection of the environment and human health. However, developing gas sensors that are not only efficient but also small and inexpensive and therefore integrable into everyday life is a difficult challenge. In this paper, we report on a resistive sensor for ammonia detection based on thin V2O5 nanosheets operating at room temperature. The small thickness and porosity of the V2O5 nanosheets give the sensors good performance for sensing ammonia at room temperature (RT), with a relative change of resistance of 9.4% to 5 ppm ammonia (NH3) and an estimated detection limit of 0.4 ppm. The sensor is selective with respect to the seven interferents tested; it is repeatable and stable over the long term (four months). Although V2O5 is generally an n-type semiconductor, in this case the nanosheets show a p-type semiconductor behavior, and thus a possible sensing mechanism is proposed. The device’s performance, along with its size, low cost, and low power consumption, makes it a good candidate for monitoring freshness and spoilage along the food supply chain.
Movement ecology is a relatively new discipline in the field of ecology that studies the spatio-temporal patterns and processes at the basis of animal movement [8]. Ecologists track animal movement using telemetry tools (such as for example bio-logging GPS tags), and then combine resulting trajectories with contextual data on environment, such as those collected through remote sensing. Combined data are then used to build statistical models that describe the determinants of animal movement, such as environmental constraints (e.g. snow layer, habitat fragmentation, human disturbance) or the inner status of individuals (e.g. memory, orientation capacity). Movement is also the focus of a different field of research, i.e. human mobility, which is studied in a set of disciplines, from GIScience, to computer science, physics, geography and transportation science [4]. In analogy with movement ecology, human mobility benefited from the recent development of sensors capable of capturing human movement in real time and at detailed spatial and temporal scales (e.g. GPS trackers).
West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus potentially causing serious illness in humans and other animals. Since 2004, several studies have highlighted the progressive spread of WNV Lineage 2 (L2) in Europe, with Italy being one of the countries with the highest number of cases of West Nile disease reported. In this paper, we give an overview of the epidemiological and genetic features characterising the spread and evolution of WNV L2 in Italy, leveraging data obtained from national surveillance activities between 2011 and 2021, including 46 newly assembled genomes that were analysed under both phylogeographic and phylodynamic frameworks. In addition, to better understand the seasonal patterns of the virus, we used a machine learning model predicting areas at high-risk of WNV spread. Our results show a progressive increase in WNV L2 in Italy, clarifying the dynamics of interregional circulation, with no significant introductions from other countries in recent years. Moreover, the predicting model identified the presence of suitable conditions for the 2022 earlier and wider spread of WNV in Italy, underlining the importance of using quantitative models for early warning detection of WNV outbreaks. Taken together, these findings can be used as a reference to develop new strategies to mitigate the impact of the pathogen on human and other animal health in endemic areas and new regions.
Assessing the behavioural responses of floating wolves to human presence is crucial for investigating the chance of wolf populations expanding into urbanised landscapes. We studied the movement ecology of three rehabilitated wolves in a highly human-dominated landscape (Po Plain, Italy) to explore wolf’s plasticity amid widespread human pressure. To reach this aim, we estimated individual 95% utilisation distributions (UD) after the release and inspected both 95% UDs and net squared displacements to identify individual movement patterns; tested for differences in movement patterns during day and night; and analysed the selection of resting sites during dispersal movement in a highly human-altered environment. Both the 95% UDs and step lengths were smaller for wolves settling in suitable areas than for those settling in more urbanised areas. All wolves exhibited strong temporal segregation with humans during all movement phases, particularly while dispersing across highly urbanised areas. Main roads and proximity to built-up areas were shown to limit wolves’ dispersal, whereas small-wooded patches that provide shelter during rest facilitated long-distance movements. This study provides important insights into wolf movement and settling in urban and peri-urban areas, providing critical knowledge to promote human–carnivore coexistence.
Simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were used to authenticate ramets of 11 Persian walnut (Juglans regia L.) varieties. All varieties and 28 of their ramets (n 5 39) were genotyped with 17 SSR markers. The genetic profiles revealed two off-types: the ramets Serr 4 (S4) and Vina 1 (V1). SSR fingerprints individuating 11 walnut varieties were possible using 13 polymorphic SSRs that could be used in the future to identify clones of these varieties. Except for 'Chandler', each cultivar could be distinguished using a combination of two SSR loci. This result emphasizes the efficacy of the SSR markers in true-to-type validation of walnut orchards.
This study investigated the detailed volatile aroma profile of young white wines of Maraština, Vitis Vinifera L., produced by spontaneous fermentation. The wines were produced from 10 vineyards located in two Dalmatian subregions (Northern Dalmatia and Central and Southern Dalmatia). Volatile compounds from the wine samples were isolated by solid-phase extraction (SPE) and analyzed by an untargeted approach using two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC/TOF-MS) and a targeted approach by gas chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS). A comprehensive two-dimensional GC×GC analysis detailed the total volatile metabolites in the wines due to its excellent separation ability. More than 900 compounds were detected after untargeted profiling; 188 of them were identified or tentatively identified. A total of 56 volatile compounds were identified and quantified using GC-MS/MS analysis. The predominant classes in Maraština wines were acids, esters, and alcohols. The key odorants with odor activity values higher than one were β-damascenone, ethyl caprylate, ethyl isovalerate, ethyl 2-methylbutyrate, ethyl caproate, isopentyl acetate, ethyl butyrate, and phenylacetaldehyde. The metabolomics approach can provide a large amount of information and can help to anticipate variation in wines or change winemaking procedures.
Grapevine cultivation, such as the whole horticulture, is currently challenged by several factors, among which the extreme weather events occurring under the climate change scenario are the most relevant. Within this context, the present study aims at characterizing at the berry level the physiological response of Vitis vinifera cv. Sauvignon Blanc to sequential stresses simulated under a semi controlled environment: flooding at bud-break followed by multiple summer stress (drought plus heatwave) occurring at pre-vèraison. Transcriptomic and metabolomic assessments were performed through RNASeq and NMR, respectively. A comprehensive hormone profiling was also carried out. Results pointed out a different response to the heatwave in the two situations. Flooding caused a developmental advance, determining a different physiological background in the berry, thus affecting its response to the summer stress at both transcriptional levels, with the upregulation of genes involved in oxidative stress responses, and metabolic level, with the increase in osmoprotectants, such as proline and other amino acids. In conclusion, sequential stress, including a flooding event at bud-break followed by a summer heatwave, may impact phenological development and berry ripening, with possible consequences on berry and wine quality. A berry physiological model is presented that may support the development of sustainable vineyard management solutions to improve the water use efficiency and adaptation capacity of actual viticultural systems to future scenarios.
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250 members
Matthias Scholz
  • Department of Food Quality and Nutrition (DQAN)
Tiziana Nardin
  • Dipartimento Sperimentazione e Servizi Tecnologici
Paolo Sonego
  • Department of Computational Biology (CBC)
Andrea Campisano
  • Department of Sustainable Agro-Ecosystems and Bioresources (DASB)
Via E. Mach, 1, 38010, San Michele All'Adige, Italy
Head of institution
Prof. Andrea Segrè - President