Cereals represent a main crop for Italian economy, particularly, in Southern Italy, durum wheat is the most important crop, although in the Mediterranean conditions wheat production is often limited by drought stress and diseases (leaf rust, powdery mildew and septoria). The uptake of nitrogen as well as other nutrients is often limited by water stress, resulting in development of irregular grains and low yield and quality value. The main focus of the work at Cereal Research Centre concerns the development of improved genetic materials with high use efficiency for water and nutrients (especially nitrogen). Jointly, it promotes the diffusion of agronomical techniques suitable for soil conservation and preservation of natural resources. To achieve this objective a wide range of activities are performed including the collection preservation and characterization of biodiversity, the breeding and releasing of new cultivars, the genomics of resistance and quality traits and the metabolomics of the nutritional compounds of durum wheat. Useful genes controlling important agronomic traits are identified in the germoplasm and accumulated with traditional and marker assisted breeding programmes in the new elite lines.
A high net income for farmers as well as the promotion of Italian pasta industry, requires durum wheat with high quality standards. Furthermore, an emerging aspect is the necessity to develop a field to end-products traceability system that assures the quality of the row materials and the safety during food processing.
Genetic Improvement of Durum Wheat, Barley and Hulled Wheat
Improve yield stability and quality as well as the resistance/tolerance to diseases are the main goals for durum wheat breeding at the Cereal Research Centre. A large breeding activity based on recurrent selection and pedigree has been and it is currently carried out to release improved lines and cultivars.
The Centre is fully equipped for the evaluation of wheat grain and semolina quality traits from grain sizes to the electrophoresis of storage proteins. Field selection is assisted through the characterization of protein and gluten content and test weight. Seed samples from all advanced genetic materials are milled and the semolina is undergone to qualitative analysis based on rheological tests (W and P/L), gluten and yellow index up to the evaluation of the pasta.
Barley breeding is aimed to the selection of genotypes with high yield and with best grain characteristics both for animal feeding and for malt production.
With the term “hulled wheats” identify three species of: Triticum monococcum L. (Einkorn), T. dicoccum Schübler (Emmer) and T. spelta L. (Spelt). At the Cereal Research Centre is active a breeding programme for emmer and spelt to select new varieties characterized by an improved grain yield and quality.
Genetics and Genomics
The Cereal Research Centre coordinates a large genomic project (named “AgroGen” 2007-2010 http://www.agrogen.it), granted by MIUR and UE, for genetic and molecular analysis of most agronomic traits in durum wheat.
AgroGen pursues the following goals:
- development of linkage maps for agronomic characters such as tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress, high yielding and grain quality traits;
- identification and localization of genes for resistance/tolerance to diseases and drought besides genes for durum wheat quality;
- transcriptional response analysis to water stress;
- functional studies on the genes and corresponding protein;
- development of marker assisted selection methods for relevant agronomic traits in durum wheat;
- characterization of the durum wheat genetic variability and traceability of quality traits.
Chemistry and Metabolomics for Quality
The quality and nutritional value of the food is surely linked to the presence of functional substances, such as fibres, pigments, vitamins, antioxidants, microelements and essential fat acids, but mainly to possibility to preserve them during the pass from field to table.
The Cereal Research Centre is working to identify the most of the substances with high qualitative-nutritional value, jointly verifying their behaviour during the transformation process. In the last years, many bioactive substances have been identified, particular attention has been turned out to those substances conferring the typical pasta flavour, and a work in progress is dedicated antioxidant and vitamin substances.
Biochemistry of Antioxidant Systems
The lipoxigenases (LOXs) acts on end-products of durum wheat altering some characteristic of pasta such as colour, aroma (off-flavours) and nutritional properties. In fact, LOXs can determine the destruction of pigments and vitamins, the loss of polyunsaturated fatty acids and the modification of several essential amino acids.
The isolation of genes coding for the LOXs and the study of their biochemical proprieties and role in planta and of their effect on the quality of the pasta represents one of the research goal at the Cereal Research Centre.
An additional interest concerns the response of plant (wheat) mitochondria to reactive oxygen species (ROS) and their role in the resistance to abiotic stress and in leaf senescence.
Development of Novel Food Cereal
The guidelines for a correct diet suggest that the consumption of foods richer in fibers and antioxidant substances contribute to reduces cardiovascular diseases. Cereals represents the base of human nutrition, thus they enrichment in compounds with nutritional value represents a main strategy to introduce healthy substances in the daily diet.
The Cereal Research Centre in involved in the characterization of the nutritional components of wheat, barley and oats from wheat grains to cooked pasta in order to develop novel products that satisfy the demand of the consumers for a modern and healthy food.
Optimisation of Agronomic Managements
The Cereal Research Centre promotes modern agronomic practices aiming to improve soil preservation and environmental sustainability. The main research activities are focussed on:
- to carry on long term agronomic experiments to test the effect of different rotation and tillage systems on wheat yield and quality and on the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil;
- to study the spatial and temporal variability of soil;
- to test new management systems to improve agricultural and environmental sustainability and water use efficiency;
- to evaluate new fungicide molecules and fertilizers on durum wheat.
Variety registered and released
Durum wheat: - Cappelli (1915), Tavoliere (1984), Adamello (1985), Ofanto (1990), Fortore (1995), Gargano and Varano (1997), Lesina (1998), Bradano and Vesuvio (1999), Chiara, Ghibli, Sfinge, Sorriso and Turchese (2003) and PD22L89 (2005).
Barley: Diomede (1993) and Dasio (1999)
Hulled wheat: Davide, Giovanni Paolo, Padre Pio (Emmer); Giuseppe, Benedetto and Pietro (Spelt).
The Centre is responsible for maintaining in purity of its own cultivars as well as of some varieties that are entrusted by others seed companies. The Centre has a plant for cereal seed selection with working capacity of 1.5 t/hr and some silos (total capacity of 75 t). A plant for seeds dressing and packaging is also available.
Iannucci, A., Russo, M., Arena, L., Di Fonzo, N., and Martiniello, P. (2002) Water deficit effects on osmotic adjustment and solute accumulation in leaves of annual clovers. European Journal of Agronomy, 16: 111-122.
Brescia, M.A., Di Martino, G., Fares, C., Di Fonzo, N., Platani, C., Ghelli, S., Reniero, F. and Sacco, A. (2002) Characterization of Italian durum wheat semolina by means of chemical analytical and spectroscopic determinations. Cereal Chemistry 79: 238-242.
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Habyarimana, E., Laureti, D., Di Fonzo, N., and Lorenzoni, C. (2002). Biomass production and drought resistance at the seedling stage and in field conditions in sorghum. Maydica 47: 303-309.
Spano, G., Perrotta, C., De Vita, P., Trono, D., Platani, C., Shewry, P., and Di Fonzo, N. (2002) Regulation of leaf senescence. . Recent Research Development in Plant Biology 2: 353-364.
Terzi, V., Ferrari, B., Finocchiaro, F., Di Fonzo, N., Stanca, A.M., Lamacchia, C., Napier, J., Shewry, P.R., and Faccioli, P. (2003) TaqMan PCR for detection of genetically modified durum wheat. Journal of Cereal Science 37: 157-163.
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Del Nobile, M.A., Fares, C., Conte, A., Martinez-Navarette, N., Mocci, G. and La Notte, E. (2003) Influence of Raw Materials and Processing Conditions on Spaghetti Hydration Kinetic During Cooking and Overcooking. Cereal Chemistry 80: 601-607.
Galterio, G., Codianni, P., Giusti, A.M., Pezzarossa, B. and Cannella, C. (2003) Assessment of the agronomic and technological characteristics of Triticum tugidum ssp. dicoccum Schrank and T. spelta L. Nahrung/Food 471: 54-59.
Trono, D., Flagella, Z., Laus, M.N., Di Fonzo, N., and Pastore, D., (2004) The uncoupling protein and the potassium channel are activated by hypersomotic stress in mitochondria from durum wheat seedlings. Plant, Cell & Enivornment. 27: 437-448.
Habyarimana, E., Laureti, D., De Ninno, M., and Lorenzoni, C. (2004) Performances of biomass sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] under different water regimes in Mediterranean region. Industrial Crops and Products 20: 23-28.
Acquistucci, R., Aureli, G., Codianni, P., Colonna, M, and Galterio, G. (2004) Chemical, technological, and nutritional characteristics of two lines of “farro” (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccum). Nahrung/Food 48: 213-217.
Rizza, F., Badeck, F.W., Cattivelli, L., Li Destri Nicosia, O., Di Fonzo, N., and Stanca, A.M. (2004) Use of a water stress index to identify barley genotypes adapted to rainfed and irrigated conditions. Crop Science 44: 2127-2137.
Maré, C., Mazzucotelli, E., Crosatti, C., Francia, E., Stanca, A.M., and Cattivelli, L. (2004) Hv-WRKY38: a new transcription factor involved in cold- and drought-response in barley. Plant Molecular Biology 55: 399-416.
Troccoli, A., and Codianni, P. (2005) Appropriate seeding rate for einkorn, emmer, and spelt grown under rainfed condition in southern Italy. European Journal of Agronomy 22: 293-300.
Mastrangelo, A.M., Marè, C., Mazzucotelli, E., Francia, E., Arru, L., Di Fonzo, N., Pecchioni, N., and Cattivelli, L. (2005) Genetic bases of resistance to abiotic stresses in durum wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. durum). In: Royo C, Nachit M N, Di Fonzo N, Araus J L, Pfeiffer W H, Slafer G A (eds) Durum Wheat Breeding: current approaches and future strategies. Food Product Press, New York, USA, pp 255-290.
Terzi, V., Pastori, G., Shewry, P.R., Di Fonzo, N., Stanca, A.M., and Faccioli, P. (2005) Real-time PCR-assisted selection of wheat plants transformed with HMW glutenin subunit genes. Journal of Cereal Science41: 133-136.
Rascio, A., Nicastro, G., Carlino, E., and Di Fonzo, N. (2005) Differences for bound water content as estimated by pressare-volume and adsorption isotherm curves. Plant Science 169: 395-401.
Mastrangelo, A.M., Belloni, S., Barilli, S., Reperti, B., Di Fonzo, N., Stanca, A.M., and Cattivelli, L. (2005) Low temperature promotes intron retention in two e-cor genes of durum wheat. Planta 221: 705-715.
Katerji, N., van Hoorn, J.W., Fares, C., Hamdy, A., Mastrolilli, M., and Oweis, T. (2005) Salinity effect on grain quality of two durum wheat varieties differing in salt tolerance. Agricultural Water Management 75: 85-91.
Francia, E., Pecchioni, N., Li Destri Nicosia, O., Paoletta, G., Taibi, L., Franco, V., Odoardi, M., Stanca, A.M., and Delogu, G. (2006) Dual-purpose barley and oat in a Mediterranean environment. Field Crops Research 99: 158-166.
Borrrelli, G.M., Ficco, D.B.M, Di Fonzo, N., and Fares, C. (2006) Effects of lipoxygenase and of chemical oxidising agent potassium iodate on rheological properties of durum dough. International Journal of Food Science and Technology 41: 639-645.
De Vita, P., Riefolo, C., Codianni, P., Cattivelli, L., and Fares, C. (2006) Agronomic and qualitative traits of T. turgidum ssp. dicoccum genotypes cultivated in Italy. Euphytica 150: 195-205.
De Vita, P., Di Paolo, E., Fecondo, G., Di Fonzo, N., and Pisante, M. (2006) No-tillage and conventional tillage effects on durum wheat yield, grain qualità and soil moisture content in southern Italy. Soil & Tillage Research 92: 69-78.
Trono, D., Soccio, M., Mastrangelo, A.M., De Simone, V., Di Fonzo, N., and Pastore, D. (2006) The transcript levels of two mitochondrial uncoupling protein-related genes are not affected by hyperosmotic stress in durum wheat seedlings showing protein activation. Bioscience Reports, 26: 251-261.
Mazzucotelli, E., Tartari, A., Cattivelli, L., and Forlani, G. (2006) Metabolism of GABA acid during cold acclimation and freezing and its relationship to frost tolerance in barley and wheat. Journal Experimental Botany 57: 3755.-3766.
Flagella, Z., Trono, D., Pompa, M., Di Fonzo, N., Pastore, D. (2006) Seawater stress applied at germination affects mitochondrial function in durum wheat (Triticum durum) early seedlings. Functional Plant Biology 33: 357-366.
Mazzucotelli, E., Belloni, S., Marone, D., De Leonardis, A.M., Guerra, D., Di Fonzo, N., Cattivelli. L., Mastrangelo, A.M. (2006) The E3 ubiquitin ligase gene family in plants: regulation by degradation. Current Genomics 7: 509-522.
De Vita, P., and Maggio, A. (2006) Yield stability analysis in durum wheat: progress over the last two decades in Italy. Cereal Research Communications 34: 1207-1213.
Pastore, D., Trono, D., Laus, M.N., Di Fonzo, N., and Flagella, Z. (2007) Possible plant mitochondria involvement in cell adaptation to drought stress. A case study: durum wheat mitochondria. Journal of Experimental Botany 58: 195-210.
De Vita, P., Li Destri Nicosia, O., Nigro, F., Platani, C., Riefolo, C., Di Fonzo, N., and Cattivelli L. (2007) Breeding progress in morpho-physiological, agronomical and qualitative traits of durum wheat cultivars released in Italy during the 20th century. European Journal of Agronomy 26: 39-53.
De Leonardis, A.M., Marone, D., Mazzucotelli, E., Neffar, F., Rizza, F., Di Fonzo, N., Cattivelli, L. and Mastrangelo, A.M. (2007) Durum wheat genes up-regulated in the early phases of cold stress are modulated by drought in a developmental and genotype depended manner. Plant Science 72: 1005-1016.
Terzi, V., Morcia, C., Stanca, A.M., Kucera, L., Fares, C., Codianni, P., Di Fonzo, N., and Faccioli, P. (2007) Assessment of genetic diversity in emmer (Triticum dicoccon Schrank)· durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) derived lines and their parents using mapped and unmapped molecular markers. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 54: 1613-1621.
De Vita, P., Di Paolo, E., Fecondo, G., Di Fonzo, N., and Pisante, M. (2007) No-tillage and conventional tillage effects on durum wheat yield, grain qualità and soil moisture content in southern Italy. Soil & Tillage Research 92: 69-78.
Annicchiarico, P., and Iannucci, A. (2007) Winter survival of pea, faba bean and white lupin cultivars in contrasting Italian locations and sowing times, and implications for selection. Journal of Agricultural Science 145: 611-622.
Annicchiarico, P., and Iannucci, A. (2008) Adaptation strategy, germplasm type and adaptive traits for field pea improvement in Italy based on variety responses across climatically contrasting environments. Field Crops Research 108: 133-142.
Cattivelli, L., Rizza, F., Badeck, F., Mazzucotelli, E., Mastrangelo, A.M., Francia, E., Marè, C., Tondelli, A., and Stanca, A.M. (2008) Drought tolerance improvement in crop plants: an integrated view from breeding to genomics. Field Crop Research 105: 1-14.
Atienza, S.G., Martín, A., Pecchioni, N., Platani, C., and Cattivelli, L. (2008) The nuclear-cytoplasm interaction controls carotenoid content in wheat. Euphytica 159: 325-331.
Mazzucotelli, E., Mastrangelo, A.M., Crosatti, C., Guerra, D., Stanca, A.M., and Cattivelli L. (2008) Abiotic stress response in plants: when post-transcriptional and post-translational regulations control transcription. Plant Science 174: 420-431.
Annicchiarico, P., and Iannucci, A. (2008) Breeding strategy for faba bean in southern Europe based on cultivar responses across climatically contrasting environments. Crop Science 48: 983-991.
Del Giudice, F., Massardo, D.M., Pontieri, P., Maddaluno, L., De Vita, P., Fares, C., Ciacci, C., and Del Giudice, L. (2008) Development of a sorghum chain in the Italian Campania Region: From the field to the celiac patient's table. Journal of Plant Interactions 3: 49-55.
Laus, M.N., Soccio, M., Trono, D., Cattivelli, L., and Pastore, D. (2008) Plant Inner Membrane Anion Channel (PIMAC) function in plant mitochondria. Plant Cell Physiology 49: 1039-1055.
Redaelli, R., Laganà, P., Rizza, F., Li Destri Nicosia, O., and Cattivelli L. (2008) Genetic progress of oats in Italy. Euphytica 164: 679-687.
Fares, C., Codianni, P., Nigro, F., Platani, C., Scazzina, F., and Pellegrini, N. (2008) Processing and cooking effects on chemical and functional properties of pasta obtained from selected emmer genotypes. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 88: 2435-2444.
Borrelli, G.M., De Leonardis, A.M., Platani, C., and Troccoli, A. (2008) Distribution in to durum wheat kernel of the components involved in pasta colour. Journal of Cereal Science 48: 494-502.
Fait, A., Hanhineva, K., Beleggia, B., Dai, N., Rogachev, I., Nikiforova, V.J., Fernie, A.R., and Aharoni, A. (2008) Reconfiguration of the Achene and Receptacle Metabolic Networks during Strawberry Fruit Development. Plant Physiology 148: 730-750.
Iannucci, A., Terribile, M.R., and Martiniello, P. (2008) Effect of temperature and photoperiod on flowering time of forage legumes in a Mediterranean environment. Field Crops Research 106: 156-162.
Baiano, A., Fares, C., Peri, G., Romaniello, R., Taurino, AM., Siciliano, P., Gambacorta, G., Lamacchia, C., Pati, S., and La Notte, E. (2008) Use of a toasted durum whole meal in the production of a traditional Italian pasta: chemical, mechanical, sensory and image analyses. International Journal of Food Science and Technology 43: 1610-1618.
Pagnotta, M.A., Mondini, L., Codianni, P., and Fares, C (2009) Agronomical, Quality and Molecular Characterization of Twenty Italian Emmer Wheat accessions. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 56: 299-310.
Beleggia, R., Platani, C., Spano, G., Monteleone, M., Cattivelli, L. (2009) Metabolic profiling and analysis of volatile composition of durum wheat semolina and pasta. Journal of Cereal Science 49: 301-309.
Ficco, D.B.M., Riefolo, C., Nicastro, G., De Simone, V., Di Gesù, A.M., Beleggia, R., Platani, C., Cattivelli, L., and De Vita, P. (2009) Phytate and mineral elements concentration in a collection of Italian durum wheat cultivars. Field Crop Research 111: 235–242.
Digesù, A.M., Platani, C., Cattivelli, L., Mangini, G., and Blanco, A. (2009) Genetic variability in yellow pigment components in cultivated and wild tetraploid wheats. Journal of Cereal Science 50: 210-218.
Lytovchenko A., Beleggia R., Schauer N., Isaacson T., Leuendorf J.E., Hellmann H., Rose J.K.C., and Fernie A.R. (2009) Application of GC-MS for the detection of lipophilic compounds in diverse plant tissues. Plant Methods. 5: 4 doi:10.1186/1746-4811-5-4
Marone, D., Del Olmo, A.I., Laidò, G., Sillero, J.C., Emeran, A. A.-M., Russo, M.A., Ferragonio, P., Giovanniello, V., Mazzuccotelli, E., De Leonardis, A.M., De Vita, P., Blanco, A., Cattivelli, L., Rubiales, D., and Mastrangelo, A.M. (2009) Genetic analysis of a leaf rust durable resistance in durum wheat. Molecular Breeding 24: 25-39.
Aprile, A., Mastrangelo, A.M., De Leonardis, A.M., Galiba, G., Roncaglia, E., Ferrari, F., De Bellis, L., Turchi, L., Giuliano, G. and Cattivelli L. (2009) Transcriptional profiling in response to terminal drought stress reveals differential responses along the wheat genome. BMC Genomics 2009, 10:279. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-10-279.
Gadaleta, A., Mastrangelo, A.M., Russo, M.A., Giove, S.L., D'onofrio, O., Mango, T., Cellini, F., Blanco, A., Cattivelli, L., and Cifarelli, R.A. (2009). Development and characterization of EST-derived SSRS from a 'totipotent' cDNA library of durum wheat. Plant breeding, doi:10.1111/j.1439-0523.2009.01760.x.
Borrelli, G.M., De Vita, P.;,Mastrangelo, A.M., and Cattivelli, L. (2009) Integrated views in plant breeding: modern approaches for an old topic. In Crop Physiology: Applications for Genetic improvement and Agronomy. Sadras, V.O.; Calderini, D.F. Eds. pp 327-355.
Laidò, G., Barabaschi, D., Tondelli, A., Gianinetti, A., Stanca, A.M., Li Destri Nicosia, O., Di Fonzo, N., Francia, E., and Pecchioni, N. (2009) QTL alleles from a winter feed type can improve malting quality in barley. Plant Breeding 128: 598-605.
Menga, V., Fares, C., Troccoli, A., Cattivelli, L., and Baiano, A. (2010) Effects of genotype, location and baking on the phenolic content and some antioxidant properties of cereal species. International Journal of Food Science & Technology 45: 7-16.
Beleggia R., Platani C., Nigro F., Cattivelli L. (2010) A micro-method for the determination of Yellow Pigment Content in durum wheat. Journal of Cereal Science 52: 106-110.
Russo P., Beleggia R., Ferrer S., Pardo I., Spano G. (2010) A polyphasic approach in order to identify dominant lactic acid bacteria during pasta manufacturing. LWT - Food Science and Technology 43: 982-986.
Fares, C., Platani, C., Baiano, A., and Menga, V. (2010) Effect of processing and cooking on phenolic acid profile and antioxidant capacity of durum wheat pasta eriched with debranning fractions of wheat. Food Chemistry 119: 1023-1029.
Soccio, M., Laus, M.N., Spera, G.P., Trono, D., Pompa, M., Flagella, Z., and Pastore, D. (2010) Mitochondrial proline oxidation is affected by hyperosmotic stress in durum wheat seedlings. Annals of Applied Biology doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7348.2010.00392.x.
Laino P., Shelton D., Finnie C., De Leonardis A.M., Mastrangelo A. M., Svensson B., Lafiandra D., Masci S. (2010) Comparative proteome analysis of metabolic proteins from seeds of durum wheat (cv. Svevo) subjected to heat stress. Proteomics, in press.
De Vita P., Mastrangelo A.M., Matteu L., Mazzucotelli E., Virzì N., Palumbo M., Lo Storto M., Rizza F., Cattivelli L. 2010. Genetic improvement effects on yield stability in durum wheat genotypes grown in Italy. Field Crops Res. doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2010.06.016.
De Simone V., Menzo V., De Leonardis AM., Ficco D.B.M., Trono D., Cattivelli L., De Vita P. 2010. Different mechanisms control lipoxygenase activity in durum wheat kernels. Journal of Cereal Science doi:10.1016/j.jcs.2010.04.003.
Basso B., Cammarano D., Troccoli A., Chen D., Ritchie J.T. Long Term wheat response to nitrogen in a rainfed mediterranean environment: field data and simulation analysis. European Journal of Agronomy (in press).