My research activity is prevalently oriented to the study of sustainable strategies for the management of phytoparasitic nematodes. Model plants are horticultural species, mainly tomato, and root-knot (Meloidogyne spp.) and cyst (Globodera spp. and Heterodera spp.) nematodes. Research is undertaken through laboratory studies and in vivo (pot, greenhouse, open field) experiments.
Secondary metabolites involved in defense mechanisms of many plant species can undertake a biocidal activity on insects, fungal pathogens and also phytoparasitic nematodes and, therefore, can be highly interesting for the development of new environmentally sustainable pesticides. Since many years we undertake a research line on the nematicidal activity of glucosinolates, saponins and, more recently, essential oils and their components. In addition to studies aimed to the publication of scientific papers, experimental activities are also undertaken on behalf of industrial companies.
On the same subject of sustainable control strategies alternative to synthetic pesticides, a research line on nematode – suppressive organic composted matrices is also undertaken, in the frame of national and international research projects.
Studies are also undertaken on the sustainable use of new synthetic nematicidal formulations, applied in combination with natural compounds, agronomical techniques or physical methods as soil solarization.