The research carried out within the Sesto Fiorentino Unit, is developed in different thematic areas such as plant pathology (of fungi and bacteria), population genetics (of microorganisms and plants), and plant biochemistry and ecophysiology. In particular:
- Monitoring, epidemiology and containment of invasive species in natural environments and in nurseries;
- Diagnosis and control of pathogens in forest, in ornamental and urban areas and in nursery; care and conservation of trees of historical and monumental value;
- Development of molecular diagnostic protocols (mainly based on real-time PCR, LAMP and biochemical markers) for the diagnosis of invasive pathogens;
- Genetic improvement of tree species for resistance to pathogens (cypress canker and Dutch Elm disease);
- Biocontrol of phytopathogenic agents through bacterial antagonists and Development of eco-sustainable strategies for plant protection by using natural defenses of plants;
- Study of plant-pathogen interactions during the infectious stage;
- Ecophysiology and plant biochemistry studies for the identification and quantification of volatile signal molecules (VOCs) in plants subjected to biotic and abiotic stress;
- Study of the adaptation of plants to biotic and abiotic stresses. The molecular mechanisms involved in stress tolerance in Mediterranean plants are studied through a genomic and computational approach;
- Population genomics of plants and fungi.
The Sesto Fiorentino Unit also provides support and advice to the Phytosanitary Service of the Tuscany Region for the monitoring of invasive pathogenic species and the development of molecular diagnostic protocols.
The Sesto Fiorentino Unit also has an IPSP Ugnano Experimental field facilities where studies relating to national and international research projects are carried out and where elm and cypress germplasm collections are kept.