My research field regards the study of bacterial plant diseases and of the antagonistic mechanisms of potential biocontrol bacteria. My present research is focused on the monitoring of alien invasive pathogenic bacteria of forest plants and the application of sustainable strategies to control microbial pathogens of woody plants.
I have set up a database including data regarding woody plant phytopathogenic bacteria both already present in Europe and potentially invasive. The monitoring activity is performed by the identification of epyphitic and endophytic bacteria of woody plants grown in commercial nursery. Bacteria are identified by sequence analysis of 16S ribosomial region.
Pseudomonas chlororaphis subsp. aureofaciens M71 strain is an effective antagonist of Seiridium cardinale, responsible of cypress canker. The antagonistic activity of the bacterium is mainly due to the production of phenazine-1-carboxylic acid (PCA). The ability to produce PCA within bacterized cypress tissues will be investigated by molecule extraction and identification by spectroscopic analysis. Antagonist-pathogen interaction will be investigated by molecular analysis.
In 2014 a field experiment started to study the effect of ozonated and electrolyzed water on epiphytic microflora (fungi, bacteria and yeasts) of leaves and berries of grape. These treatment do not produce dangerous residues. Representative strains belonging to the different microbial groups are identified by by sequence analysis of 16S ribosomial region. The aim of the project is to reduce the use of chemicals in viticulture by integrating different control strategies.
I’m also studying potential entomopathogenic bacteria of Rhynchophorous ferrugineus, the red palm weevil.