Digital Theses Archive


Tesi etd-01202022-101639

Type of thesis
E-mail address
Innovative technologies and natural products in horticulture productions.
Scientific disciplinary sector
Istituto di Scienze della Vita - AGROBIOSCIENCES
relatore Prof.ssa MENSUALI, ANNA
  • apple waste
  • potato waste
  • green extracts
  • LED lights
Exam session start date
The eco-sustainability of a production process must be extended to all sectors, especially the agricultural one. The climatic changes underway will affect agricultural production and cultivation areas. In addition, the global population increase will require more and more production yields from agricultural crops to be able to meet the high demand for food. Based on this scenario, agricultural research activity will have to be formulated with projects in order to optimize and accompany an ecological transition in production. My research project, addressed during the PhD, wanted to focus on the study of innovative factors and natural substances applied to the horticultural sector, with the general goal of making the production process increasingly eco-sustainable. Today, the circular economy represents an important tool, in fact the possibility of re-evaluating a waste substances in a resource was the cornerstone of the experimental tests dealt with. In this sense, the first goal of the research was to evaluate the possibility of reusing potato and apple peel scraps, rich in interesting bioactive compounds. Metabolomics analysis of the extracts demonstrated their high potentiality as source of usefull bioactive compounds. The phenolic component was of particular interest, and for this reason an extraction technique was optimized, which could fall within the canons dictated by green chemestry. In the first part of the elaborate, experiments are reported aimed at evaluating the green extracts of apple and potato peels, as natural preservatives in fresh-cut apples. Moreover an in vitro culture system of Ocinum basilicum L. was established to test the effect of the extracts on the growth of basil plantlets. An alternative use of potato and apple waste as biostimolants was also investigated. Extracts were obtained from water macerated potato skins and apple pomace (dry residue of apple after juice extraction). Extracts thus obtained were tested in vitro and in vivo cultures. In the in vitro experiments, the general objective was to evaluate the extract as an alternative component of the synthetic ingredients normally used in the preparation of the growth substrate of young orchid (Vanda spp.) and Sweet Basil explants (Ocimum basilicum L. “Genovese”). During the in vivo tests, the macerated extract of apple and potato was sprayed on young lettuce seedlings (Lactuca sativa L. “Longifolia”), to be evaluated as a growth promoter. In all these experiments, potato and apple extracts demonstrated a good results to the traditional treatments. In the second part of the elaborate, studies conducted in indoor cultivation to evaluate the effect of LED light are reported. Various irradiance levels and wavelengths of light spectrum produced by LEDs were investigated for their effect on growth, yield, and nutritional quality in four vegetables (chicory, green mizuna, china rose radish and alfalfa) and two flowers (french marigold and celosia) microgreens species. Moreover light spectrum manipulation was performed during saffron (Crocus sativus L.) cultivation in controlled environment. The results indicated that manipulation of LED spectra could boost secondary metabolites and antioxidant capacity in the petals obtaining phytochemically enriched floral by-products with superior functional quality.