The S. Angelo Lodigiano Unit was started through a donation by Count Gian Giacomo Morando Bolognini, made in 1932 to the “Istituto Nazionale di Genetica per la Cerealicoltura”, directed by Nazareno Strampelli.
In 1972 the Unit, originally located in a wing of the Morando Bolognini castle, was thoroughly refurbished with new labs dedicated to technological analyses, and modern field management machineries.
A completely new premise was built in 1980 with up-to-date research facilities, including technology, biochemistry and biotechnology labs, seed processing and milling rooms, data analysis system, greenhouses, growth chambers, hangars and agricultural machines.
In 1989 a containment lab, qualified for radioisotopes utilisation and molecular analysis, was implemented.
In 2007 an experimental pasta-making plant, including also a Progel for the use on non-conventional matrices, was inaugurated, thanks to a convention between CRA and DiSTAM – University of Milan.
The S. Angelo Lodigiano (LO) Unit for Cereal selection in continental areas (CRA-SCV) is devoted to the breeding and the selection of cereals, with special emphasis on small grain cereals in Northern Italy; the aim is the achievement of high yields coupled with a reduction of energy inputs. The Unit coordinates the national variety testing network, studies the technological quality of wheats in relation to end-uses, and pursues valorisation and diffusion of novel plant varieties (not only cereals) through the preparation of comparison and exhibition fields, as well as the maintenance of reference and conservation collections.
The Unit performs research concerning the whole wheat production chain, dealing with agronomy and quality (technological and nutritional) as well as with advanced biotechnologies.
Main objectives of the research are: 1) breeding of new bread wheat and einkorn varieties, able to cope with the changing needs of both producers and industry; 2) technological and nutritional characterisation of existing varieties; 3) in-depth studies on the biochemical and molecular characteristics of storage proteins, essential for gluten formation, and starch; 4) phylogenetic studies and variety identification by means of protein and molecular markers; 5) identification and exploitation of useful genes/alleles (disease resistance, content in high-nutritional-value molecules, etc.).
CRA-SCV maintains and studies a broad and comprehensive germplasm collection, including 5173 accessions of Triticum aestivum (old and new Italian and foreign varieties as well as old landraces) and 1671 accessions of diploid wheats (T. urartu e T. monococcum). Such a collection, unique in Italy, is of outstanding importance for the researchers because it harbours wide genetic variability of the genus Triticum, essential for the identification of useful genes, to be exploited in breeding programmes. Furthermore, the collection allows to satisfy the ever increasing request of traditional varieties, to be employed in organic farming and for the description of IGP or DOP brands.
The Unit collaborates with the “Ente Nazionale Sementi Elette” in the realisation of agronomic and qualitative trials needed for the inscription to the “Registro delle Varietà” of new small grain cereal varieties (excluding rice). Furthermore, with the participation of different entities, CRA-SCV coordinates the evaluation network of bread wheat under conventional and organic management. The Unit participates to Italian and European finalised projects in collaboration with other research bodies and universities.
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