Santa Olga Cacciola

Professore associato di Patologia vegetale [AGR/12]
Ufficio: Via S. Sofia, 100 - Piano II - Stanza 303 - Area Difesa
Telefono: 095 7147371
Fax: 095 7147277
Orario di ricevimento: Martedì dalle 11:00 alle 13:00

Family name, First name: Cacciola Santa Olga

Nationality: Italian

Date of birth: 13.0.1958
Current address: Dipartimento di Agricoltura Alimentazione e Ambiente (Di3A), University of Catania, V. S. Sofia, 100 Italia, 95123 Catania; tel.; +39 095 7147371/3289393860

ORCID: 0000-0001-7926-3601; Scopus Author ID: 6603225299



Currently, associate Professor in Plant Pathology, University of Catania. (She passed Abilitazione Nazionale – ASN: 2012 and 2013 as Full professor)

2008: associate professor in Plant Pathology, University of Catania.

2000: OECD/OECE fellowship on “Molecular techniques for the identification of Phytophthora”), The James Hutton Institute, Scotland (UK) with D.E.L. Cooke.

1998-2008: associate professor in Plant Pathology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Palermo.

1990: PhD in Plant Pathology and researcher at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Catania.

1984-1985 (18 months): NIH (National Institute of Health) fellow at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA), studying the adhesion factor in cell-cell interactions. 

1982-1983: “Roche Foundation” fellowship carried out a research project on red cell transport at the Institut fur Biochemie (University of Bern, Switzerland).

1980: degree in Biological Science at the University of Catania (110 cum laude)



- Plant Pathology, Applied Plant Pathology, Forest Pathology, Plant morphology and physiology, Post-harvest Plant Pathology for undergraduate and graduate students.  
- Supervisor of graduate and Ph.D. students.

- Member of “Committee board” of Research Doctorates: “Gestione fitosanitaria ecocompatibile in ambienti agro-forestali e urbani”, University of Palermo and “Biotechnology”, University of Catania (2008-2014); “Agricultural, Food and Environmental Science”, University of Catania (International Course, 2013-2015); and "Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari, Forestali e Ambientali", University of Palermo (2016/2020).



The general experience is in Plant Pathology, mostly with oomycetes and horticultural crops, fruit trees and forest tree species, fungi and diagnosis. Main research lines are: 1. Phytophthora and fungal diseases of citrus, ornamentals and Mediterranean forest trees; 2. Phylogeny and molecular diagnosis of Phytophthora and fungal pathogens; 3. Metagenomic of plant pathogens; 4. Colletotrichum anthracnose of olive and other crops; 5. Genetic variability of Phytophthora populations with different tools and strategies; 6. Bioremediation strategies using filamentous beneficial fungi; 7. Differential expression of genes of these fungi in presence of heavy metals; 8. Biological control and land management to control plant diseases


Invited speaker at national and international meetings



Scientific leader

  • Project funded by CNR on the “Genetics of fungi” (Research Unit)
  • MIUR - PRIN: 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 (Research Unit), 2008-2010 (National leader)
  • DIGESFAM project (“progetto a sportello”), funded by MiPAF (2005-2007)
  • SAMAGRUMI  2007-2013;  funded by “Regione Siciliana” with EC funds Operative Program (Programma Operativo) - FESR 2007-2013
  • Bilateral Italy-UK (2002-2004; “Effect of climate change on geographical distribution of Phytophthora and risk of subsequent damage to important Mediterranean ecosystems” Partner: Dr D.E.L. Cooke of SCRI, Scotland)
  • Bilateral Italy-Spain (2007-2009; “Absorption of heavy metal ions by bio-resins of fungal origin in bioremediation of wastewaters and polluted soils”. Partner: Dr. Irene Garcia Fernandez, “Instituto de Bioquímica Vegetal y Fotosíntesis”, University of Sevilla, Spain)
  • Trilateral Italy-Sweden-Vietnam, Initiation Grant STINT (2011-2013;"Tree Diseases caused by species of Phytophthora that threaten forests and orchards on different continents".
  • Italy-Iran (2018-2019; Programma di mobilità “PIETRO DELLA VALLE” "Pomegranate and pistache diseases and selection of ecotypes resistant to fungal diseases in Iran". Partner: Prof.  Mostowfizadeh-Ghalamfarsa "Department of Plant Protection, University of Shiraz).
  •  “FITOPALMINTRO” Project, funded by “Regione Siciliana” (2007-2009); component.
  • Evaluation of research of the University of Catania (2005-2009 Top scientist Area 07 - Scienze Agrarie e Veterinarie). Special awards: additional funds by the University of Catania (euro 10.000).
  • VQR (“Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca”: National Agency of the Evaluation of University and Research) Evaluation period: 2004-2010 and 2011-2014. Score of the evaluated research products:  1 (Excellent).
  • U.S. FULBRIGHT Lecturers and Research Scholars to Italy - A.Y. 2017-18, AWARDING OF THE FULBRIGHT GRANT (Hosting Partner)




  • 2009-2012. Member of Management Committee MC) - COST-EU (International European Cooperation in Science and Technology) COST FPS Action FP0801: "Established and Emerging Phytophthora: Increasing Threats to Woodland and Forest Ecosystems in Europe".
  • 2014- 2019.  Member of MC - FPS COST Action FP1406: “Pine pitch canker - strategies for management of Gibberella circinata in greenhouses and forests (PINESTRENGTH)”.


  • Editor of the treatise “Olive diseases and disorders” published by Transworld Research Network Trivandrum, Kerala India ISBN 978 – 81-7895-539–1 (2011).
  • Senior Editor of Plant Disease, and associate editor of Pest Technology, Functional Plant Science and Biotechnology.
  • Referee for Journal of Plant Pathology, Frontiers in Plant Science, Phytopathology, Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology, Plant Disease, Plant Pathology, PLOS ONE, Biocontrol Science & Technology, Phytopathologia Mediterranea, Forest Pathology, Natural Product Research, European Journal of Plant Pathology, European Journal of Plant Science, Biotechnology, Frontiers in Plant Science.



  • University of Berkeley, USA (Prof. M. Garbelotto); The James Hutton Institute (formerly Scottish Research Crop Institute), Scottland (Dr D.E.L. Cooke); University of Cork, Ireland (Prof. D. Sheehan); University of Valencia, Spain (Dr Ana Perez); University of Sevilla, Spain (Dr. I. Garcia Fernandez); Forestry Commission Research Agency, UK (Prof. C. Brasier); USDA, USA (Dr. F.N. Martin, Dr. G. Abad), The Volcani Center Israel (Dr. D. Ezra), Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical – IICT, Portugal (P. Talhinhas); Phytophthora Research Centre, Mendel University, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic (Dr. T. Jung); North Carolina State University – North Carolina, USA  (Prof. J. B. Ristaino)


- Member of the American Phytopathological Society.

- Member of the Italian Society of Plant Pathology (SIPaV).

- Member of the Italian Mycological Union. 



Component of

  • “Permanent Committee for Monitoring of the Teaching Activity of the undergraduate Courses of the Agricultural Faculty of the University of Palermo 2007-2008.
  • Departmental Committee advising the Director on the decision related to the Agricultural Faculty’, University of Palermo 2007-2008.
  • Departmental Committee advising the Director on the decision related to Dipartimento di Agricoltura, Alimentazione e Ambiente –2014-2018.
  • Departmental Committee "Gruppo di Gestione di Assicurazione Qualità della Ricerca (GGAQR)" of the University of Catania for SSD AGR12 (Plant pathology) to evaluate the Quality of the Research-2013.
  • Committee for the “Selezione del Direttore del Centro di ricerca per la Patologia vegetale di Roma del Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura” Rome, CREA - 2012




  1. Mosca S., Li Destri Nicosia M.G., CACCIOLA S.O., Schena L. (2014). Molecular Analysis of Colletotrichum Species in the Carposphere and Phyllosphere of Olive . PLOS ONE, vol. 9, p. 1-21, ISSN: 1932-6203, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114031
  2. Schena L., Li Destri Nicosia M.G., Sanzani S.M., Faedda R., Ippolito A., CACCIOLA S.O. (2013). Development of Quantitative PCR Detection Methods for Phytopathogenic Fungi and Oomycetes. JOURNAL OF PLANT PATHOLOGY, vol. 95 , p. 7-24, ISSN: 1125-4653, doi: doi: 10.4454/JPP.V95I1.016
  3. CACCIOLA S.O., Faedda R, Sinatra F, Agosteo G E, Schena L, Frisullo F, Magnano Di San Lio G. (2012). Olive Anthracnose. JOURNAL OF PLANT PATHOLOGY, vol. 94; p. 29-44, ISSN: 1125-4653
  4. Chimento, A., CACCIOLA S.O., Garbelotto, M. (2012). Detection of mRNA by reverse-transcription PCR as an indicator of viability in Phytophthora ramorum. FOREST PATHOLOGY, vol. 42; p. 14-21, ISSN: 1437-4781, doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0329.2011.00717.x
  5. Scibetta S., Schena L., Chimento A., CACCIOLA S.O., Cooke D.E.L. (2012). A molecular method to assess Phytophthora diversity in environmental samples. JOURNAL OF MICROBIOLOGICAL METHODS, vol. 88; p. 356-368, ISSN: 0167-7012
  6. CACCIOLA S.O., Faedda R., Agosteo G.E (2011). Olive anthracnose. Olive diseases and disorders. vol. 1, p. 223-246, KERALA: Transworld Research Network 37/661 (2), Fort P.O., ISBN/ISSN: 978-81-7895-539-1
  7. CACCIOLA S.O., Faedda R., Pane A., Scarito G. (2011). Root and crown rot of olive caused by Phytophthora spp. . Olive diseases and disorders. vol. 1, p. 305-327, KERALA: Transworld Research Network 37/661 (2), Fort P.O., ISBN/ISSN: 978-81-7895-539-1
  8. Faedda R., Agosteo G.E., Schena L., Mosca S., Frisullo S., Magnano di San Lio G., CACCIOLA S.O. (2011). Colletotrichum clavatum sp. nov. identified as the causal agent of olive anthracnose in Italy. PHYTOPATHOLOGIA MEDITERRANEA, vol. 50; p. 283-302, ISSN: 0031-9465
  9. Faedda R., Pane A., CACCIOLA S.O., Magnano di San Lio R., Raudino R., Lo Giudice V., Magnano di San Lio G. (2011). Malattie fungine degli agrumi. . PROTEZIONE DELLE COLTURE, vol. 4; p. 24-29, ISSN: 2279-7602
  10. Faedda R.: Cerboneschi M., Sanzaro V., Tegli S., CACCIOLA S.O. (2011). Analisi funzionale del trascrittoma: come i patogeni batterici e fungini inducono malattia nelle piante . PROTEZIONE DELLE COLTURE, vol. 3; p. 15-29, ISSN: 2279-7602
  11. Gelsomino G., Faedda R., Rizza C., Petrone G., CACCIOLA S.O. (2011). New platforms for the diagnosis and identification of fungal and bacteria pathogens. Science against microbial pathogens: communicating current research and technological advances. vol. 1, p. 622-630, Badajoz: Formatex Research Center, ISBN/ISSN: 978-84939843-1-1
  12. Graniti A., Faedda R., CACCIOLA S.O., Magnano di San Lio G. (2011). Olive diseases in a changing ecosystem . Olive diseases and disorders. vol. 1, p. 403-433, KERALA: Transworld Research Network 37/661 (2), Fort P.O., ISBN/ISSN: 978-81-7895-539-1
  13. Mammella M. A., CACCIOLA S.O., Martin F., Schena L. (2011). Genetic characterization of Phytophthora nicotianae by the analysis of polymorphic regions of the mitochondrial DNA. FUNGAL BIOLOGY, vol. 115; p. 432-442, ISSN: 1878-6146, doi:
  14. HU W. T, TEDESCO S, FAEDDA R, PETRONE G, CACCIOLA S.O., O'KEEFE A, SHEEHAN D (2010). Covalent selection of the thiol proteome on activated thiol sepharose: A robust tool for redox proteomics. TALANTA, vol. 80; p. 1569-1575, ISSN: 0039-9140, doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2009.10.047
  15. LINZER R. E, RIZZO D. M, CACCIOLA S.O., GARBELOTTO M (2009). AFLPs detect low genetic diversity for Phytophthora nemorosa and P. pseudosyringae in the US and Europe. MYCOLOGICAL RESEARCH, vol. 113; p. 298-307, ISSN: 0953-7562, doi: 10.1016/j.mycres.2008.11.004
  16. MIGHELI Q, CACCIOLA S.O., BALMAS V, PANE A, ITALY, EZRA D, MAGNANO DI SAN LIO G (2009). Mal Secco Disease Caused by Phoma tracheiphila: A Potential Threat to Lemon Production Worldwide. PLANT DISEASE, vol. 93 (9); p. 852-867, ISSN: 0191-2917, doi: 10.1094/PDIS-93-9-0852
  17. Raimondo F, Nardini A, Salleo S, CACCIOLA S.O., Lo Gullo M.A (2009). A tracheomycosis as a tool for studying the impact of stem xylem dysfunction on leaf water status and gas exchange in Citrus aurantium L. TREES, vol. 24; p. 327-333, ISSN: 0931-1890, doi: 10.1007/s00468-009-0402-4
  18. Raspanti E, CACCIOLA S.O., Gotor C, Romero L. C, García I (2009). Implications of cysteine metabolism in the heavy metal response in Trichoderma harzianum and in three Fusarium species. CHEMOSPHERE, vol. 76; p. 48-54, ISSN: 0045-6535, doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2009.02.030
  19. CACCIOLA S.O., Magnano Di San Lio G (2008). Management of Citrus diseases caused by Phytophthora spp. In: A. CIANCIO E K.G. MUKERJI EDS. Integrated Management of Diseases Caused by Fungi, Phytoplasma and Bacteria. vol. Vol. 3 IPM series, p. 61-84, HEIDELBERG: Springer Science + Business Media B. V., ISBN/ISSN: ISBN 978-1-4020-8570-3
  20. Demontis M. A, CACCIOLA S.O., Orru' M, Balmas V, Chessa V, Maserti B. E, Mascia L, Raudino F, Magnano Di San Lio G, Migheli Q (2008). Development of real-time PCR systems based on SYBR® Green 1 and Taqman® technologies for specific quantitative detection of Phoma tracheiphila in infected Citrus. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PLANT PATHOLOGY, vol. 120; p. 339-351, ISSN: 0929-1873
  21. CACCIOLA S.O. (2007). Recenti acquisizioni e tecniche di biologia molecolare per la diagnosi dei patogeni fungini dele piante. INFORMATORE FITOPATOLOGICO, vol. 2; p. 23-28, ISSN: 0020-0735
  23. Orrù M, Demontis M.A, CACCIOLA S.O., Balmas V, Chessa V, Raudino F, Magnano Di San Lio, Migheli Q (2007). Real-time PCR systems based on SYBR® GREEN I and Taqman® technologies for specific quantitative detection of Phoma tracheiphila in infected Citrus. JOURNAL OF PLANT PATHOLOGY, vol. 89 (3); p. S51, ISSN: 1125-4653
  24. Raimondo F, Raudino F, CACCIOLA S.O., Salleo S, Lo Gullo M. A (2007). Impairment of leaf hydraulics in young plants of Citrus aurantium (sour orange) infected by Phoma tracheiphila. FUNCTIONAL PLANT BIOLOGY, vol. 34; p. 720-729, ISSN: 1445-4408
  25. Balmas V, Scherm B, Ghignone S, Salem A.O.M, CACCIOLA S.O., Migheli Q (2005). Characterisation of Phoma tracheiphila by RAPD-PCR, microsatellite-primed PCR and ITS rDNA sequencing and development of specific primers for in planta PCR detection. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PLANT PATHOLOGY, vol. 111; p. 235-247, ISSN: 0929-1873
  26. CACCIOLA S.O., Magnano Di San Lio G (2005). Deuterophoma tracheiphila. Diagnostics protocols for regulated pests. BULLETIN OEPP, vol. 35; p. 307-311, ISSN: 0250-8052
  27. Saiano F., Ciofalo M., CACCIOLA S.O., Ramirez S. (2005). Metal ion adsorption by Phomopsis sp. biomaterial in laboratory experiments and real wastewater treatments. WATER RESEARCH, vol. 39; p. 2273-2280, ISSN: 0043-1354
  28. CACCIOLA S.O., Duncan J. M, Magnano Di San Lio G (2004). Phytophthora cinnamomi. Diagnostics protocols for regulated pests. BULLETIN OEPP, vol. 34; p. 201-207, ISSN: 0250-8052
  29. Agosteo G.E., CACCIOLA S.O., Frisullo S., Magnano Di San Lio G. (2002). Characterisation of the causal agent of olive antrachnose in Southern Italy. ACTA HORTICULTURAE, vol. 586; p. 713-716, ISSN: 0567-7572
  30. CACCIOLA S.O., Williams N., Cooke D.E.L., Duncan J.M. (2001). Molecular identification and detection of Phytophthora species on some important Mediterranean plants including sweet chestnut. FOREST SNOW AND LANDSCAPE RESEARCH, vol. 76 (3); p. 351-356, ISSN: 1424-5108
  31. Magnano Di San Lio G, CACCIOLA S.O. (2001). Aggiornamenti sulle principali malattie infettive dell'ulivo presenti nell'Italia Meridionale. In: COORDINATORE B. MINCIONE. La produzione delle olive da mensa nel Basso Tirreno Reggino. p. 93-109, REGGIO CALABRIA: Laruffa Editore
  32. CACCIOLA S.O., Magnano Di San Lio G., Greco G., Pane A. (1990). Electrophoretic study of three related Phytophthora species. BULLETIN OEPP, vol. 20; p. 47-58, ISSN: 0250-8052 




  • Studio della variabilità genetica delle popolazioni di funghi fitopatogeni con metodi molecolari.
  • studio delle alterazioni fisiologiche nelle piante di agrumi infette da mal secco.
  • Sviluppo di metodi di diagnosi molecolare per l’identificazione di specie di Phytophthora e di altri funghi fitopatogeni agenti di malattie di piante agrarie, ornamentali e forestali
  • Impiego di microrganismi fungini in strategie di biorisanamento ambientale per la rimozione di metalli pesanti da siti inquinati


English version

  • Study of genetic variability of fungal pathogen populations by molecular methods.
  • Study of the physiological alterations in plants infected with citrus mal secco.
  • Development of molecular diagnostic methods for identification of species of Phytophthora and other fungal pathogens causal agents of diseases of crop, ornamental and forestry plants.
  • Application of fungi in strategies of "bioremediation" for removing heavy metals from polluted sites