Italy -EoI 1056

Understanding effects of genotype � environment � sowing window interactions for durum wheat in the Mediterranean basin

The group is represented by researchers working at the Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS) and Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences – Production, Landscape, Agroenergy (DiSAA). The research carried out by the two Departments of the University of Milan (UMIL) focus on the study of agro-food related topics in the Italian and international settings, allowing for multidisciplinary and inter-sectorial collaborations and resource-sharing.

Specifically, the group at DeFENS works on the impact of food, dietary compounds and/or dietary patterns in the modulation of nutritional status and human health (e.g. in vulnerable groups of population) through analysis of nutritional, metabolic and functional markers to understand food/diet-host interaction. Specific attention is devoted to nutrient and non-nutrient (e.g. carotenoids, polyphenols and glucosinolates) bioavailability, the impact of food production or processing on nutritional value, the identification of strategies to develop food products able to respond to specific nutritional needs or to improve eating behaviour in critical target populations. DeFENS has also expertise in the field of sensory and consumer science especially in relation to individual variation in sensory perception and implication on consumer’s food preference and choice, sensory and behaviourally-driven barriers to sustainable and healthy eating, optimization of food formulations for specific consumer targets (children, elderly people, consumers with celiac disease and obesity).

The group at DiSAA has wide expertise in molecular biology, genetic, physiology, biochemistry, and agronomy of crops. This multidisciplinarity allows DISAA researchers to study, with a systemic approach, the yield and the quality of crops. The end result of the science developed at DISAA is the production of crops which not only have improved nutritional characteristics but are also sustainable under modern agronomic management.

The EoI also includes Tecnoalimenti (TCA) with expertise in technology transfer and connections among research, food companies and policy makers for an integrated food system approach.

The group has several infrastructures (e.g. facilities for consumer and eating behaviour studies, the International Center for the Assessment of Nutritional Status, fields and greenhouses, platform for high-throughput plant phenotyping, germplasm collections of crop species). In addition, the group has developed different databases focused on humans (e.g. data derived from dietary intervention studies in different target groups, data collected in a large cohort of Italian consumers to link host characteristics with taste sensitivity and other relevant markers of exposure or intake) or on food (e.g. genetic, ionomic and metabolomics profiling, effect of processing on nutritional value and technological performance). Finally, we will share the results obtained in the project MIND FoodS Hub “Innovative concept for the eco-intensification of agricultural production and for the promotion of dietary patterns for human health and longevity through the creation in MIND of a digital FOOD System Hub” funded by the Lombardy Region.

Participation to WPs/Tasks:

Partner WP 2 Task 3 (Novel foods based on new ingredients, materials, and processes)

Partner WP3 Task 1 (Food composition and new sources), Task 2 (Bioavailability, food digestion and transport), Task 4 (Dietary assessment and nutritious balanced diet)

Leader WP3 Task 3 (Physiological effects of sustainable diets)

Partner WP4 Task 1 (How we eat), Task 2 (Changing food practices), Task 3 (Consumer Food Future Scenarios)

Leader WP4 SubTask 2.2 (Innovative diets)

Partner WP5 Task 2 (Identification of future food scenarios), Task 3 (Relevant health effects and environmental impacts), Task 5 (Health effects and environmental impacts: scenarios comparison)

EoI responsible
Patrizia Riso
Full professor of Human Nutrition

People involved
Cristian Del Bo’
Assistant professor of Human Nutrition

Daniela Martini
Assistant professor of Human Nutrition

Monica Laureati
Associate professor of Food Science and Technology

Gian Attilio Sacchi
Full professor of Plant Physiology

Carlo Pozzi
Associate professor of Plant Genetics

Raffaello Prugger
Director general