Partner description

The Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC) is the largest Italian free academic Institution, counting 5 campuses, 12 faculties and more than 40.000 students. Within the Faculty of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Science of UCSC, the Department of Food Science and Technology for a Sustainable Agro- Food Chain (DiSTAS) merges the competences of Microbiology, Chemistry and Food Sciences, and has been involved and has coordinated European Research projects from FP3 to up to Horizon 2020. DiSTAS investigates on molecular biology of bacteria, fungi and archaea, molecular analysis in bacterial taxonomy, analysis of gut bacterial community, and microbial population dynamics in environments by using microbiological and omics approaches, with a focus on the isolation of xenobiotic-degrading (including plastics) microorganisms. The research activity at the Department of Sustainable Crop Production (DI.PRO.VE.S) is articulated in three main thematic areas that are strongly characterized and integrated: Agronomy and Plant Biotechnologies, Fruit Culture and Viticulture, Sustainable Crop and Food Protection.


Role in the project

UCSC will coordinate WP6 and will be actively involved in WP3. UCSC will contribute to WP3 activities following in particular at least 10 farms that have been used drip irrigation on industrial tomato and other industrial crops for over the last 20 years. In collaboration with other research units, UCSC will assess the microbial processes involved in the degradation and disintegration of MP and NP, determine the effects on the soil microbiota and isolate strains with potential degradation abilities. We will also carry out pot experiment to: study the eco- physiological response of plants to critical MP and NP loads through direct and precise quantitation of gas exchange under controlled conditions; “multi-stress” combinations assessment (MP/NP and drought) on plant performance; NP uptake by plant assessment; and wet sieving assessment

Persons involved

6 Eduardo

Edoardo Puglisi, principal investigator of UCSC in MINAGRIS, is Associate Professor in Agricultural Microbiology at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and the leader of a dynamic scientific group in Environmental Microbiology at UCSC made up of 2 post-docs and 4 PhD students. Research interests of Prof. Puglisi’s group focus on the interactions between microorganisms and chemical compounds in the environment, with particular attention to the ecology and genetic basis of xenobiotics biodegradations and soil fertility, with a joint application of culturomics and molecular approaches. A strong effort is dedicated to the isolation and identification of microbial strains with biotechnological potentials, especially as plant-growth promoting strains, xenobiotic degraders or strains with biocontrol activities towards bacteria and fungi. He is associate editor for Frontiers in Microbiology and member of the academic editorial board of PloSONE. He is involved either as coordinator or principal investigator in a number international (Life+, Horizon) and national projects. Prof. Edoardo Puglisi has authored 89 peer-reviewed publications indexed in Scopus (1523 total citations H index 25).

6 Stefano Amaducci

Stefano Amaducci - He is Full professor of Agronomy and field crops at the Department of Sustainable crop productions, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. He is president of the scientific committee of Federcanapa ( From 2019 he is president of CITIMAP Scarl, ( a company that develops remote sensing solutions to support precision agriculture. Most of his past research was focussed on the agronomic evaluation of industrial crops, particularly for fibre and biomass production. More recently the focus of his research has broadened, studying and developing management strategies to increase sustainability of agricultural systems. Experimental activities are carried out at the interface of crop ecophysiology, applied agronomy and soil science. Recently he is working on the development of the Agrovoltaico technology to combine electric energy to food production on the same land. He is authors of numerous scientific paper, 85 of which are indexed in Scopus, with over 2300 citations and 28 HI.

6 Andrea Ferrarini

Dr. Andrea Ferrarini (Male). From October 2018 until now he holds a research position at the Department of Sustainable Crop Production - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore – Piacenza (Italy). He studies soil-microbial-plant relationships under perennial and annual cropping systems. Main expertise are ecology of agricultural systems, soil quality assessment, SOM and nutrients cycling and soil-plant-microbes relationships in annual and perennial cropping systems. He participates to the EU-BBI project GRACE (GRowing Advanced industrial Crops on marginal lands for biorEfineries) that studies miscanthus cultivation on marginal lands and SusCrop-ERA-NET project NETFIB (Valorization of fibres from nettle grown on marginal lands in an agro-forestry cropping system). He is author of 24 publications (19 peer reviewed - H index 8) and one book chapter. He’s reviewer for Applied Soil Ecology, Soil Systems e Journal of Soil and Sediments.

6 Pier Sandro Cocconcelli

Pier Sandro Cocconcelli is Professor of Food Microbiology and Emerging Food Risks at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and he is Rector’s delegate for internationalization of the same university. He is director of TROFIC (the Transdisciplinary Research on Food Issues Center) of the Università Cattolica, a center focusing on transdisciplinary research on food. He is the Secretary general of the Strategic Alliance of Catholic Universities, a global network of research universities and President of CHEI, Centre for Higher Education Internationalization of the Università Cattolica. His research activities focus on food, agricultural and environmental microbiology, food safety, bacterial genomics, risk analysis of food pathogenic bacteria, bacterial bioremediation in the agri-food system. He is the author of more than 400 publications that relate to microbiology and food risk assessment and author of book chapters on microbiology. 

6 Ilaria Negri

Dr Ilaria Negri - She is a researcher in Entomology with the following expertise: use of honeybees as bioindicators of airborne PM and other pollutants; study of the lethal/sublethal effects of stressors on honeybee health; implementation of ecosystem services provided by pollinators in urban areas, and the sustainable control of pest insects, including invasive alien pests, to safeguard pollinators and biodiversity. She has published 34 articles in international scientific journals (H-index: 13, cited 970 times). Other relevant experiences include the coordination of the EU project Erasmus PLUS S2S - FROM SEED TO SPOON for the implementation of ecosystem services in cities and the national projects DEBUG and CONTR-HALYS for the sustainable control of the invasive alien pest Halyomorpha halys.