Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna - UNIBO

Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna - UNIBO

Identification of novel sources of biomass, enzymes and bio-products; sustainable exploitation of marine life diversity; bio-refinery and new value chains for organic waste; innovative biobased building blocks for the synthesis of chemicals and added value molecules

Area of Research

Our research focuses on the development of industrial and environmental biotechnological processes in a circular bioeconomy frame. We focus on the development of i) multipurpose biorefinery processes for the treatment of agro-industrial and urban (bio)wastes, surplus and wastewaters and their integrated valorization with the production of biobased chemicals/monomers, biopolymers and biofuels; ii) enzymatic processes for the recycling and upcycling of plastic packaging/items; iii) bioremediation strategies addressing the decontamination and detoxification of marine environments (water column and sediments), soils and groundwater polluted with petroleum hydrocarbons and organohalogenated compounds; iv) exploitation of microbiomes for the sustainable production of industrial high-value products also from agro-industrial waste and by-products, as well as for the provision of selected ecological services to support of the planet health.

Furthermore, our research covers the enrichment/isolation, characterization and selection of pure bacterial cultures or complex microbial communities, with the desired target functionality, the design of the bioprocess, its monitoring through chemical, microbiological and molecular biology methods, its optimization and validation in stirred tank reactors, biofilm packed bed bioreactors, or in micro- and mesocosms (in case of environmental bioremediation).

Area of Expertise and Main Technologies

  • selection and characterization of microbial cultures/communities of interest for the treatment of complex biowastes, the production of biobased products,the biodegradation of environmental pollutants, the valorization of agro-industrial waste and by-products to obtain value-added compounds or for their re-use, for the preparation of microbial inoculants to increase crop productivity reducing the use of chemical inputs.
  • technological characterization and selection of microbial cultures for the preparation of innovative and functional foods and optimization of fermentation processes.
  • bioprocess development, optimization and validation in 1L to 10L conventional and innovative bioreactors or micro-/mesocosms
  • multi-omics (eg. metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics and metabolomics) characterization of microbiomes
  • advanced bioinformatic approaches for the treatment of microbiome multi-omics data, including the screening for secondary metabolites biosynthetic Gene Clusters, the construction and functional screening of metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs), the application of multidimensional statistics and the modeling of microbiomes, deriving modules, hubs and pathways involved in selected functions and phenotypes
  • culturomics

Key Organisms

Pure microbial cultures, complex microbial communities and synthetic microbial communities

Industrial Application

Our research can be of interest for different industries, as indicated by collaborations with a number of companies like Biosphere, Caviro, EniRewind, Hera, Novamont, among others.  

Industrial Sector

  • Material & Textiles
  • Energy
  • Bulk & Fine Chemicals
  • Food Ingredients


Patrizia Brigidi -

Modification date : 25 April 2023 | Publication date : 17 April 2022 | Redactor : Mauro Di Fenza