University of Torino – DISAFA - Environmental Agronomy

Italy

Founded in 1404, the University of Torino is one of the oldest Italian Universities. Hosting about 70.000 students, 4.000 academic, administrative and technical staff, 1800 post-graduate and post-doctoral students, the University of Torino is today one of the largest Italian Universities, open to international research and training.

In 2013 the University structure was reorganized into 27 new Departments.

The Department of Agriculture, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA) has a staff of 200 employees, including 50 associate and full professors and 60 researchers, plus about 130 among PhD students and young temporary-contract researchers. The Department activity is divided into 50% teaching and 50% research. It also offers extension service to farmers and policy makers.

The Department deals with aspect related to agriculture economics, agronomy, fruit production, food processing, animal production, genetics, crop protection, precision farming and animal waste management. The latter topic is of competence of the “Waste Management Group” (WMG) led by prof. Paolo Balsari. Beside him, the group is composed of nine members: three senior researchers, two post-docs, a Ph.D. student, two research award holders and a lab technician. The expertise of the Group covers several aspects of animal waste utilization in agriculture: mechanical and chemical-mechanical separation of slurry and NPK management, designing and testing of innovative manure and slurry spreaders for open field and orchards, gaseous (GHG and ammonia) emissions control from the agricultural sector, energy production from renewable sources (anaerobic digestion, gasification), feedstocks pre-treatment to increase their methane potential and designing/testing of novel systems to cover digestate storage tanks, abate GHG emission and collect the residual biogas.

The "Environmental Agronomy" group led by prof. Carlo Grignani includes a researcher, a technician, three post-docs and six experienced collaborators. They work on the development and management of sustainable cropping systems, and study interactions between agriculture and environment, both at the experimental plot and territorial scale. Their main expertise is crop fertilization and its effects on soil organic matter turnover, NH3 and GHG emissions, N diffuse pollution, P runoff. They are involved in four FP7 and three Life+ projects. They manage the Tetto Frati Long Term Experimental Platform (TF-LTEP).

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