The Research Centre for Industrial Crops (CIN) with headquarters in Bologna originated in 1910 with the establishment of the Royal Experimental Station of Rovigo for sugar beet that, in 1968, was joined with the Institute of Cereals Breeding of Bologna to become the Experimental Institute for Industrial Crops. The Institute included 4 Central Sections (Agronomic techniques, Biology and Crop protection, Breeding, Conservation and transformation) and 3 peripheral Sections (Battipaglia, Osimo, and Rovigo). The Institute was entrusted with carrying out studies and research on the improvement of industrial crops, their technique of cultivation and products preservation with a particular emphasis on the processes of extraction and processing (GU n.14, 18.01.1968, n.1318). In October 2004, the Experimental Institute for Industrial Crops of Bologna merged with other CRA Institutes and, in August 2007, with the implementation of the plan of reorganization of the CRA, became Research Centre for Industrial Crops.
The Research Centre for Industrial Crops is headquartered in Bologna with a branch office in Rovigo. Overall, the Centre has two farms, totalling about 125 hectares, equipped to carry out major agronomic experiments. The Centre also has laboratories for analysis, and controlled environments for the study of agro-ecological systems, biology, chemistry, genomics, microbiology and virology, technology and an automated laboratory to evaluate the quality of sugar beet at the branch office of Rovigo.
Agro-industry technologies. With a strategic project of Italian Ministry of Research, studies have been carried out for innovation in processes and products aimed at the preservation of fruit and vegetables with implementation of a pre-pilot plant based on the use of plant-based formulations containing the myrosinase-glucosinolates system. It is also an ongoing assessment for the production of cellulolytic and delignificant enzymes from fungal isolates collected at the Centre.
Agronomy and agricultural systems. The activities revolve around the following specific areas of research: i) modeling of agricultural systems; ii) the impact of climate change on agriculture; iii) evaluating aspects of energy and carbon balance of agricultural systems; iv) studies of microbial ecology in soils for the sustainability of farming systems. The Centre carries out the development of components and applications software, the study of software architecture for the creation of tools for use in the agro-environmental studies, and the maintenance of websites to get the software product. Under the agricultural systems modeling, the Centre is involved in National and European projects to develop models and tools to estimate, using quantitative methods, productivity and environmental fallout of annual/multiannual herbage, orchards / vineyards and agroforestry systems, in particular combinations of climate, soil and crop management techniques. Are being studied aspects of energy and carbon balance of agricultural systems in reference to the optimal use of land at local level.
Biofuels and biolubricants. The Centre has carried out research in this field with European and National funds for oil crops (Sunflower, Crambe, B. carinata, Oil seed rape) for the production of biodiesel, lubricants and vegetable based formulation thereof for textile industry. Sweet sorghum and certain genotypes of sugar beet have been tested for the production of bioethanol. Studies are underway to produce ethanol from ligno-cellulosic biomass using Trichoderma.
"Biofumigation" chain. The Centre has more than ten-year skills in analysis and management of plant molecules for biological activity, agro-technological, biochemical, toxicological and phytopathological studies. Brassicaceae species were selected and formulated. These products are characterized by a biological control of some soil pathogens (fungi and nematodes) according to a new technique called "biofumigation". Studies on the effects of the combination of this technique with fungal antagonists (Trichoderma) and the mechanisms of interaction with the telluric mycoflora are in progress. The varieties and patents produced in recent years in the field show an increasing commercial development not only in organic agriculture but also in conventional farming.
Biomass. Lignocellulosic biomass are being studied in herbaceous crops (fibre sorghum, hemp, miscanthus, common reed, etc.), and in woody species (poplar, locust-tree, willow etc.) grown using the technique of Short Rotation Forestry. At the farm land of Anzola dell'Emilia (BO) a major demonstration for plant essences used as wood biomass was installed.
Extraction technologies. To contain the costs of biofuels production, especially biodiesel, there is a need to exploit most of by-products. The technological research that took place at the Centre focuses on the innovation process and the identification of uses of original co-products (meal extraction and glycerol). The acquired experience in European, national and regional projects, allowed to develop applicative and demonstrative extraction technologies. Particular attention was dedicated to the extraction of some enzyme systems in planta which have already demonstrated significant capacity in crop protection.
Fiber. The Centre screens germplasm of flax and hemp, studies genetic and molecular bases of some characters of interest, and investigates the problematic concerning industrial hemp cultivation. These lines of research are of growing interest in the industry, spurred mainly by the trend of the market to return to natural fibres, dovetailing with the objectives to protect environment and land. The Centre plays a reference role in this area for a long time.
Functional molecules. Research works on this issue include: i) biology and chemistry of psychotropic and not psychotropic cannabinoids for medical use; ii) food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industrial use of pure glucosinolates and isothiocyanates or extracts of Brassicaceae containing them, for nutraceutical and chemioprevention purposes; iii) protease inhibitors of proteinic or non proteinic type, including the inhibitory effect of benzodioxole derivatives on plant proteases. The research in this field is aimed at improving the health of the consumer, and product-process innovation to maintain and enhance national competitiveness in the sector.
Horticultural industry. For over 30 years, with public and private funds, often in cooperation with primary seed companies, the Centre has conducted activities in selection and genetic improvement of bean suitable for the fresh and freezing market, potato, dwarf peas for freezing, livestock, and tomato for industry. Activities are primarily intended to create new Italian genetic materials that have a good fitness to industrial processing, high preservability for the fresh market and high levels of resistance to the most important biotic and abiotic adversities. For years the Centre has an important collection of in vitro germplasm of potato (cv Italian historical foreign and local agro-ecotype, including wild relatives) and carries out conservation and maintenance of some Italian cultivars on behalf of Italian Ministry of Agriculture.
Oil plants chain. In this area, the Centre carries on agricultural activities and genetic improvement for increased agricultural production in food and non food areas. A particular attention was paid to sunflower and Brassicaceae species with selection and creation of genotypes characterized by a high oleic and erucic acids content. In this field, experiments were conducted on a pre-industrial scale to use vegetable oils as biolubricants in the textile, tanning and paper industry. The research in this sector aims among others things at protecting the territory, health in the workplace, and the consumer, as well as the isolation of protein fractions and secondary metabolites with biological activity for use in fine chemicals.
Organic cultivation system of Industrial plants. In this area the Centre carries out experiments and coordination activity of the main projects in the sector. In addition, new fertilizers, soil conditioners and biocides based entirely on plant material in organic farming are developed. In particular, studies and approaches for the unconventional defence, such as treatments based on fungal agents antagonists and / or resistance inducing agents are conduct
Soil microbiology. In connection with agricultural activities, the Centre conducts studies on the response of soil microbial communities under diverse agricultural techniques, both in terms of conservation of biodiversity, and the control of plant pathogens. Gene sequences identified by macromolecular techniques were registered on international databases.
Sugar chain. The Centre carries out activities on sugar beet focusing on genetics and functional genomics of the abiotic stress, genetic improvement to increase the combining ability, the polarimetric degree, the resistance to early flowering, and to rizomania and cercospora. At the branch office of Rovigo, the correlation between root development and production characteristics are also studied.
Variety entered to the varietal register 2002-2008
Sugar beet: Dardo (2006), Gladio (2006)
Brassica juncea: ISCI 20 (2005), ISCI 99 (2005)
Hemp: Red Petiole (2002), Fibrimor (2003), Codimono (2003), Hermes (2003) Asso (2004), Carmagnola (2006 *), CS (2006 *), Fibranova (2006 *)
(*) Registration renewal
Sunflower: Fabio (2002), Elly (2002), Crono (2004)
Dwarf bean : Fiorino (2002), Luxor (2003), White Top (2003), Granato (2003), King (2004), Efesto (2004), Ulisse (2004), Merit (2004), Ciclope (2005), Adone (2005), Radames (2005), Gringo (2005)
Climbing bean : Kaimo (2002), Kondor (2001)
Potatoes: Ninfa (2005), Ruby (1997), Antea (2006), Tezenis (2006)
Grain dry pea: Corallo (2002)
Dwarf pea for industry: Zaffiro (2003)
Tomato: Agata (2002), Alice (2002), Nemador (2004)
Castor bean **: Castore, Polluce, Riscio, Negus
(**) Varieties not included for lack of specific register
Industrial Patents 2002-2008
Iori R. Patent No. Q1304031. Method for the preparation of glucorafanin.
Lazzeri L., Leoni O., Manici ML, S. Palmieri, Patalano G. 2008. European Patent No. EP1530421. Use of seed flour as soil pesticide.
Palmieri S., Bernardi A., Rossi A.A. 2003. N.BO2003A BO2003A 0000068. Application for Patent. Method for the exploitation of oil seeds.
Morazzoni P., Manzotti C., G. Fontana, A. Riva, Iori R. 2008 Use of isothiocyanate derivatives as anti-myeloma agents. European Patent No. 08100658.7-2123
Rongai D., Cerato C., Lazzeri L., Palmieri S. 2006. Composition for the treatment and / or prevention of attacks by biological agents. European Patent Application PCT/IB2006/001700.
Palmieri S., Ugolini L., 2006. Simultaneous continuous extraction of oil and glucosinolates from oilseeds. Application for Patent No. PS2006A 000018.
Di Candilo M.S., Ranalli P., Cappelletto P.L., Pasini P., 2006. Machinery for the collection of hemp, and similar. Application for Patent No. BO2006A000,598.
Lazzeri L., Leoni O., Palmieri S. 2007. Soil improvers agriculture-based meal plants and use of that soil improvers. Application for Patent No. ITA,BO2007A 000,233.