Massimiliano Morelli

I got a degree in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology at Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, the same place where I earned a post-degree master technical specialization in phytopathological diagnostics and a PhD title in Crop Protection. In the course of time my main research interest have been biological and molecular characterization of viral agents infecting woody plants, mainly grapevine, but also stone-fruits, pome-fruits, olive, persimmon, mulberry and some ornamental shrubs. I’ve contributed to the development of molecular and biotechnological methods for detection, genomic characterization, analysis of genetic diversity and taxonomical or phylogenetic relationships of species belonging to several viral families (Betaflexiviridae, Partitiviridae, Caulimoviridae, Bromoviridae, etc.). Recently I’ve given my support to the optimization of smallRNA and mRNA library preparation for high-throughput Illumina sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis of output data, therefore discovering viral agents yet unidentified, focusing my interest on their genomic features. In 2013 I got a fellowship, in the frame of CISIA Project, at CNR-ISPA, where I joined the research team projecting the database and web platform, a network clustering Italian animal, plant and microbial genetic resources. In this context I conceived, as redactor and designer, the scientific magazine “Biodiversity success stories“. I’ve collaborated to the Re.Ge.Vi.P. project, aiming at safeguard and recovery of Apulian autochthonous grape germplasm. Currently I’m working at the application of advanced molecular diagnostic tools for detection, characterization and assessment of control strategies for Xylella fastidiosa CoDiRO strain.
Detailed information about my scientific publications at:


Articles and book chapters since 2008

  • 2018 - Previsual symptoms of Xylella fastidiosa infection revealed in spectral plant-trait alterations - Zarco-Tejada P.J., Camino C., Beck P.S.A., Calderon R., Hornero A., Hernandez-Clemente R., Kattenborn T., Montes-Borrego M., Susca L., Morelli M., Gonzalez-Dugo V., North P.R.J., Landa B.B., Boscia D., Saponari M., Navas-Cortes J.A. - Nature Plants, 4: 432-439
  • 2018 - Detection of four regulated grapevine viruses in a qualitative, single tube real-time PCR with melting curve analysis - Aloisio M., Morelli M., Elicio V., Saldarelli P., Ura B., Bortot B., Severini G.M., Minafra A. - Journal of virological methods, 257: 42-47
  • 2017 - Recenti sperimentazioni per il controllo di Xylella - Dongiovanni C., Di Carolo M., Fumarola G., Ciniero A., Tauro D., Palmisano F., Silletti M.R., Pollastro P., Altamura G., Cavalieri V., Morelli M., Saldarelli P., Boscia D., Saponari M., Faretra F. - Olivoeolio, 4: 25-29
  • 2016 - Unusual genomic features of a badnavirus infecting mulberry - Chiumenti M., Morelli M., De Stradis A., Elbeaino T., Stavolone L., Minafra A. - Journal Of General Virology , 97: 3073-3087
  • 2016 - Transcriptome profiling of two olive cultivars in response to infection by the CoDiRO strain of Xylella fastidiosa subsp. pauca - Giampetruzzi A., Morelli M., Saponari M., Loconsole G., Chiumenti M., Boscia D., Savino V.N., Martelli G.P., Saldarelli P. - BMC genomics, volume 17
  • 2016 - Intercepted isolates of Xylella fastidiosa in Europe reveal novel genetic diversity - Loconsole G., Saponari M., Boscia D., D'Attoma G., Morelli M., Martelli G.P., Almeida R.P.P. - European journal of plant pathology (Dordr., Online), 1-10
  • 2016 - Transmission of grapevine Pinot gris virus by Colomerus vitis (Acari: Eriophyidae) to grapevine - Malagnini V., De Lillo E., Saldarelli P., Beber R., Duso C., Raiola A., Zanotelli L., Valenzano D., Giampetruzzi A., Morelli M., Ratti C., Causin R., Gualandri V. - Archives Of Virology , 161: 2595-2599
  • 2016 - Identification and characterization of an isolate of apple green crinkle associated virus involved in a severe disease of quince (Cydonia oblonga, Mill.) - Morelli M., Giampetruzzi A., Laghezza L., Catalano L., Savino V.N., Saldarelli P. - Archives Of Virology , 162: 299-306
  • 2016 - Detection and molecular characterization of a Grapevine Roditis leaf discoloration-associated virus (GRLDaV) variant in an autochthonous grape from Apulia (Italy) - Chiumenti M., Giampetruzzi A., Morelli M., Savino V.N., Martelli G.P., La Notte P., Palmisano F., Saldarelli P. - Virus Genes ,
  • 2014 - Discovery and molecular characterization of a new cryptovirus dsRNA genome from Japanese persimmon through conventional cloning and high-throughput sequencing - Morelli M.,Chiumenti M.,De Stradis A.,La Notte P.,Minafra A. - Virus Genes , 50:160–164
  • 2014 - Genetic variability of Grapevine Pinot gris virus and its association with grapevine leaf mottling and deformation - Saldarelli P.,Giampetruzzi A.,Morelli M.,Malossini U.,Pirolo C.,Bianchedi P.,Gualandri V. - Phytopathology , 105: 555-563
  • 2014 - First report of Grapevine pinot gris virus from table grapes in southern Italy - Morelli M.,De Moraes Catarino A.,Susca L.,Saldarelli P.,Gualandri V.,Martelli G.P. - Journal Of Plant Pathology , 96:439
  • 2012 - Detection and molecular characterization of a novel cryptovirus from persimmon (Diospyros kaki). - Morelli M., De Stradis A., La Notte P., Merkuri J., Boscia D., Minafra A. - Petria, 22:181-181
  • 2012 - Next-Generation sequencing and metagenomic analysis advances in plant virus diagnosis and discovery. - Loconsole G, Giampetruzzi A, Roberto R, Saponari M, Palmisano F, Chiumenti M, Morelli M., Minafra A, Savino V, Saldarelli P - Journal of Plant Pathology, 94:S4.48
  • 2010 - Molecular properties of an Apulian isolate of Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus from Vitis vinifera. - Morelli M., Minafra A., Boscia D., Martelli G. P. - Petria, 20:354-355
  • 2010 - Complete nucleotide sequence of a new variant of Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus from southern Italy - Morelli M., Minafra A., Boscia D., Martelli G. P. - Archives of Virology, 156:543-546
  • 2010 - Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus: an indexing trial to further evaluate the role of genetic variants in the aetiology of vein necrosis - Pirolo C., Morelli M., Bouyahia H., Della Bartola P., Casati P., Minafra A., Materazzi A., Bianco P. A., Boscia D., Martelli G. P. - Journal of Plant Pathology, 92 (4, Supplement):S4.61-S4.61
  • 2009 - Molecular variability and seed transmission of Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus isolates from Southern Italy - Morelli M., Minafra A., Boscia D. - Journal of Plant Pathology, 91:S4.75