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Biotecnologie e Biosensoristica

The increasing awareness of the potential presence of toxic chemicals in our environment –the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink – has led to the continuous development of increasingly more complex and sensitive monitoring tools. These toxic chemicals interact with the metabolite, which is a biological compound, and they can be measured by means of the electrical, chemical or physical signals. The technique of biosensors can be used in the field of agriculture but these devices are mostly used in the environmental processes and monitoring to give benefit to the environment. During the reaction in a biosensor, a biological component such as a cell or enzyme is needed. In addition to approaches based on traditional chemical analysis, recent years have also seen an enhanced development of news types of biosensors. Biosensors are powerful diagnostic devices based on the extremely high specificity of biological molecules. Biosensors are used in various fields of biotechnology such as medicine, agriculture and environment and in research. Biotechnology has played role in every sector, whether it is industry, agriculture or environment. Our focus is on the environmental biotechnology. In biotechnology, biosensors are the analytical devices which make use of the biological materials like nucleic acid, hormone or enzyme. The study of natural environment and its applications is called environmental biotechnology. The purpose of environmental biotechnology is used to study the harmful substances which are contaminating the environment and discovering and inventing such processes which can be beneficial for the environment.


Nanotechnology (sometimes shortened to “nanotech“) is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres. Quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale. Nanotechnology is very diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale to investigating whether we can directly control matter on the atomic scale. Nanotechnology entails the application of fields of science as diverse as surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, microfabrication, etc.

Sensori- NIRS Tsenkova-

Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has been applied to measure the content of various constituents in milk,  Near-infrared spectroscopy in the shortwave region has been successfully used for mastitis detection in quarter milk (Tsenkova et al., 1992). Nearinfrared spectroscopy has gained popularity because it has several advantages such as rapidity, no need of sample preparation and reagents, nondestructive measurement, and possibilities for on-line measurements. The purpose of this study was to investigate the ability of NIRS to quantitatively determine logSCC content in composite milk from individual cows in the spectral region from 1,100 to 2,500 nm.


Bioinformatica  Con i recenti progressi nell’ambito biomedico, è diventato essenziale assicurare un supporto adeguato alle ricerche nell’ambito della medicina e delle scienze della vita. Infatti una caratteristica dell’era post-genomica dipenderà da nuove modalità di trattare l’enorme mole di dati generata quotidianamente al fine di correlare le informazioni genotipiche con quelle fenotipiche e cliniche. La bioinformatica è una disciplina scientifica dedicata alla risoluzione di problemi biologici a livello molecolare con metodi informatici. Essa costituisce un tentativo di descrivere dal punto di vista numerico e statistico i fenomeni biologici: storicamente ed epistemologicamente la biologia ha fatto minor ricorso ad un approccio matematico rispetto ad altre discipline scientifiche (quali fisica e chimica). La bioinformatica quindi tenta di supplire a questa lacuna fornendo ai risultati tipici della biochimica e della biologia molecolare un corredo di strumenti analitici e numerici. Vengono coinvolte, oltre all’informatica, la matematica applicata, la statistica, chimica e biochimica e nozioni di intelligenza artificiale.



Nanotechnology is working with the smallest possible particles which raise hopes for improving agricultural productivity through encountering problems unsolved conventionally. Improvement of crops in agriculture is a continuous process. Breeding varieties to suite the growing needs are done through conventional breeding and biotechnical means. Recently scientists have started using nanotechnology to deliver the genes to specific sites at cellular levels and rearrange the atoms in the DNA of the same organism to get expression of desired character, thus skipping the time consuming process of transferring the gene from the foreign organisms. In the management aspects, efforts are made to increase the efficiency of applied fertilizer with the help of nano clays and zeolites and restoration of soil fertility by releasing fixed nutrients. Research on smart seeds programmed to germinate under favourable conditions with nanopolymer coating are encouraging. In the controlled environment agriculture and precision farming input requirement of crops are diagnosed based on needs and delivered the required quantities in right time at right place with the help of nanobiosensor and satellite system. Nanoherbicides are being developed to address the problems in perennial weed management and exhausting weed seed bank. Remediation of environmental contamination of the industrial waste and agricultural chemicals like pesticides and herbicide residues are possible through metal nanoparticles. Details of possibilities and concepts of application of nanotechnology in the crop production and results obtained already in these areas are reviewed in this paper.

Integration of omics data

In the current omics era, innovative high-throughput technologies allow measuring temporal and conditional changes at various cellular levels. Although individual analysis of each of these omics data undoubtedly results into interesting findings, it is only by integrating them that gaining a global insight into cellular behaviour can be aimed at. A systems approach thus is predicated on data integration. However, because of the complexity of biologicalsystems and the specificities of the data-generating technologies (noisiness, heterogeneity, etc.), integrating omics data in an attempt to reconstruct signalling networks is not trivial. Developing its methodologies constitutes a major research challenge. Besides for their intrinsic value towards health care, environment and industry, prokaryotes are ideal model systems to further develop these methods because of their lower regulatory complexity compared with eukaryotes, and the ease with which they can be manipulated. Several successful examples outlined in this review already show the potential of the systems approach for both fundamental and industrial applications, which would be timeconsuming or impossible to develop solely through traditional reductionist approaches.

 Advanced sensors

The work, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is aimed at developing advanced sensors capable of detecting minute quantities of viruses, bacteria and other contaminants in air and fluids by coating the cantilevers with proteins, including antibodies that attract the contaminants. Such sensors will have applications in areas including environmental-health monitoring in hospitals and homeland security. So-called “lab-on-a-chip” technologies could make it possible to replace bulky lab equipment with miniature sensors, saving time, energy and materials.


Nanotechnology (sometimes shortened to “nanotech“) is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres. Quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale. Nanotechnology is very diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale to investigating whether we can directly control matter on the atomic scale.


Il corso si propone di fornire le conoscenze informatico-statistiche fondamentali per l’analisi dei dati ottenuti in ambito di Biotecnologie Agro-Ambientali, offrendo unquadro unitario degli strumenti informatici disponibili. La base di partenza di tutti I sistemi informatici applicati al campo agro-ambientale sono i dati che vengono prodotti. I dati o segnali sono un mezzo per convogliare delle informazioni provenienti da diversi tipi di sorgente. Su tali informazioni vi sono poi due livelli distinti di trattamento, uno prettamente di elaborazione e l’altro, a più alto livello, di gestione, comunicazione e memorizzazione. In genere, i settori dediti all’elaborazione trattano i metodi per l’acquisizione, l’analisi e l’interpretazione diretta delle informazioni contenute nei dati.


Negli ultimi anni notevole sviluppo ha avuto l’applicazione della fotocatalisi su semiconduttori per la degradazione di inquinanti organici e inorganici delle acque, nonché di inquinanti gassosi dell’atmosfera. Tale tecnica è stata recentemente sperimentata anche in ambito zootecnico. In particolare, la presente ricerca si è proposta di valutare l’efficacia del trattamento fotocatalitico con biossido di titanio nell’abbattimento dei composti azotati contenuti nei liquami. A tale scopo è stato costruito un prototipo modulare per il trattamento dei liquami e si è dimostrato che l’ossidazione fotocatalitica dell’idrossido di ammonio, utilizzato come composto azotato modello, su ossidi metallici semiconduttori opportunamente modificati conduce principalmente ad azoto gassoso, con una degradazione percentuale del composto di partenza fino al 38 % in 4 ore di irraggiamento. L’adozione di questa tecnica innovativa potrà contribuire in modo

Nanotech & Ambiente 

Nanotechnology is being used in several applications to improve the environment. This includes cleaning up existing pollution, improving manufacturing methods to reduce the generation of new pollution, and making alternative energy sources more cost effective.

Nanotech and water

An adequate supply of safe drinking water is one of the major prerequisites for a healthy life, but waterborne diseases is still a major cause of death in many parts of the world, particularly in young children, the elderly, or those with compromised immune systems. As the epidemiology of waterborne diseases is changing, there is a growing global public health concern about new and reemerging infectious diseases that are occurring through a complex interaction of social, economic, evolutionary, and ecological factors. An important challenge is therefore the rapid, specific and sensitive detection of waterborne pathogens. Presently, microbial tests are based essentially on time-consuming culture methods. However, newer enzymatic, immunological and genetic methods are being developed to replace and/or support classical approaches to microbial detection. Moreover, innovations in nanotechnology and nanosciences are having a significant impact in biodiagnostics, where a number of nanoparticle-based assays and nanodevices have been introduced for biomolecular detection.

Nanotechnology for Food Processing

Food Safety and Quality
• Sensors with single molecule detection capabilities (Nanotongues
and Nano-noses)
• Nano-structures interacting with microbial cells
• Preservative carrier systems
• Ingredient Technologies & Systems
• Nanoparticle Utilization
• Flavors, Antioxidants, Antimicrobials, Bioactives etc.
• Food Processing
• New membrane separation systems
• Catalysis
• Food Packaging
• Low permeability, high-strength plastics
• High-performance edible packaging

Nanotechnologies for Food

Provide energy

Environmental applications of nanotechnology

Nanotechnology offers the ability to effectively enable contaminant treatment in situ. The process begins with the injection of nanoparticles into a contaminated aquifer via an injection well. The nanoparticles are then transported to the source of contamination by the groundwater flow where they then degrade the contaminant. Nanoparticles can sequester (via adsorption or complexation), immobilizing them, or they can degrade the contaminants to less harmful compounds. Contaminant transformations are typically redox reactions. When the nanoparticle is the oxidant or reductant, it is considered reactive


Disciplina che si occupa di applicare metodi statistici e matematici alla chimica sperimentale. In particolare, la chemiometria ha lo scopo di analizzare un insieme di dati e informazioni sperimentali relative a un fenomeno o a un processo chimico dipendente da molte variabili, anche collegate tra loro, al fine di evidenziare i parametri più influenti, giungere a una comprensione il più possibile completa e accurata del fenomeno e fomulare ove possibile modelli matematici del fenomeno stesso con valore predittivo. I metodi più importanti di cui si avvale la chemiometria sono l’analisi delle componenti principali, l’analisi fattoriale, i metodi di cluster analysis, l’analisi di regressione, ecc. La diffusione dei metodi chemiometrici è in rapida espansione grazie anche all’accresciuta disponibilità di calcolatori elettronici di adeguata potenza.


To completely overcome the problem of the presence of urea in the serum, which can be the cause (especially at low immunoglobulin G concentrations) of a small but non negligible interference in the enzyme reaction of the enzymatic marker, when the measurement was performed by a potentiometric immunosensor that we constructed and characterized in previous work, and which used urease as marker, we have now constructed an entirely different and highly innovative immunosensor. This new device uses the enzyme alkaline phosphatase as marker, sodium phenylphosphate as substrate but above all, a tyrosinase biosensor obtained by coupling a Clark type gas diffusion amperometric electrode and the tyrosinase enzyme, immobilized in a cellulose triacetate membrane, as transducer. After optimizing the ‘competitive’ measurement procedures, the new immunosensor was used to determine both HIgG and the anti-HIgG, with a limit of detection (LOD) of the order of 3×10-11 M. Clearly this highly innovative construction geometry makes the immunosensor extremely selective. This makes it possible to determine immunoglobulin G both in human serum and milk without the slightest interference by any urea present in these biological matrixes.

Sensori in Dairy Framing

Increasing herd size, production per cow, economical value of the cow and increased expenses (especially food) as well as socioeconomic progression motivates technological development in the dairy industry. This includes primarily sensors that suppose to provide information that improves decision making. The fact that these sensors record and store on-line data from each cow in the herd led to precision dairy farming (PDF) that can be defined as managing the smallest production unite (the individual cow if possible) in order to enable the cows to express its genetic potential in accordance with economical goals and animal wellbeing. The PDF systems can be divided into two categories: for diagnostic and for management. The same sensor can serve both of them to alarm or elucidate a physiological event or status which improves management decision making. The difference between them is that the former has to alarm ahead or close to the event it supposes to detect and the latter can be more time tolerant. Both include sensors that generates data, a model that gives a physiological interpretation to the data, a management decision making process and finally decision execution. This paper scans novel-technology and under development sensors with special emphasis on data-informationdecision making process. Five novel sensors will be described and discussed in more details including applications and possibilities. These are on-line body weight scales, on-line milk composition analyzer, behaviour sensor, rumination and heart rate sensors.

Sensori in ambiente marino

Marine environments are influenced by a wide diversity of anthropogenic and natural substances and organisms that may have adverse effects on human health and ecosystems. Real-time measurements of pollutants, toxins, and pathogens across a  range of spatial scales are required to adequately monitor these hazards, manage the consequences, and to understand the processes governing their magnitude and distribution. Significant technological advancements have been made in recent years for the detection and analysis of such marine hazards. In particular, sensors deployed on a variety of mobile and fixed-point observing platforms provide a valuable means  to assess hazards. In this review, we present state-of-the-art of sensor technology for the detection of harmful substances and organisms in the ocean. Sensors are classified by their adaptability to various platforms, addressing large, intermediate, or small areal scales. Current gaps and future demands are identified with an indication of the urgent need for new sensors to detect marine hazards at all scales in autonomous real-time mode. Progress in sensor technology is expected to depend on the development of small-scale sensor technologies with a high sensitivity and specificity towards target analytes or organisms. However, deployable systems must comply with platform requirements as these interconnect the three areal scales. Future developments will include the integration of existing methods into complex and operational sensing  systems for a comprehensive strategy for long-term monitoring. The combination of sensor techniques on all scales will remain crucial for the demand of large spatial and temporal coverage.

Sensori 4

Il primo esempio di “biosensore” fu messo a punto nel 1962 da Clark e Lyons; era un’evoluzione dell’elettrodo di Clark per l’ossigeno, sviluppato nel 1956. La membrana D, inizialmente di teflon, permeabile all’ossigeno esterno, che veniva monitorato sfruttando la riduzione ad H2O2 sull’elettrodo di Pt A, venne sostituita con una membrana da dialisi in cui era intrappolato l’enzima glucosio-ossidasi (GOD o GOx). L’enzima catalizzava l’ossidazione del glucosio ad acido gluconico da parte dell’ossigeno. Il consumo di ossigeno, misurato mediante l’elettrodo di Clark, poteva essere correlato alla concentrazione del glucosio, ad esempio nel sangue.

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