Primary Production And Environment
Agricultural production systems must be able to meet the increased demand for food linked to global population growth, while respecting the environment and its resources. Topics of significant interest in this area and that the researchers belonging to the Center address and develop with the aim of increasing primary production while improving its quality and environmental sustainability are: the development of biological and integrated control plans for phytophagous insects and of phytopathogenic agents, the identification of innovative control strategies inspired by the natural antagonistic relationships between organisms, the improvement of the resistance and tolerance of plants, the conservation of soil quality, the development of mathematical-economic models applied to agricultural production systems to optimize production and protection, the identification of new protein sources for farm animal feed that do not compete with human nutrition. To achieve this goal, alongside the advancement of scientific knowledge, rigorous and effective disclosure in favor of the citizen is essential, who must be properly informed and aware of the problems and possible solutions that can be put in place to feed the planet without running out of resources.
Biodiversity And Ecosystem Services
The well-being and economic prosperity of our society depend to a large extent on the health of natural and agricultural ecosystems, which provide essential goods and services. The loss of biodiversity can weaken an ecosystem, compromising the provision of these goods and services which have inestimable economic and social value. Pollination, nutrient recycling, soil conservation and fertility, the natural regulation of populations of organisms harmful to crops, carbon sequestration, nitrogen fixation are just some of the ecosystem services of vital importance to our survival. The interdisciplinary skills present within the Center offer the possibility of developing research aimed at the characterization and protection of biodiversity, through the definition of strategies for the correct management of the environment in its complexity, aimed at the conservation of all life forms and ecosystem services provided by them. The Center also promotes training and dissemination courses aimed at emphasizing the value and importance of “natural capital”.
Food Safety And Quality
Consumers are increasingly demanding safe, healthy, nutritious products obtained with respect for the environment and animal welfare. The agri-food system is called upon, in addition to respecting the regulations in force, to improve the practices of production, processing, certification and conservation of products to offer standards that not only meet the demands of consumers, but are a guarantee of a continuous process of improvement of the quality and safety, with a view to a One Health vision of agri-food production. The safety and quality of the final product must be the result of a virtuous system that involves all stages of production, transformation and distribution. Reduction of the use of pesticides, identification of advanced methods for the detection of organic and inorganic contaminants in food, certification of supply chains, development of new materials for food packaging, are some of the aspects that play an important role in ensuring and improving the safety and the quality of food. The researchers belonging to the Center deal with these and other related issues, with the aim of improving and enhancing agricultural production processes, also through adequate training of young researchers and careful dissemination to citizens.