Lucia Parafati

Fixed-term Assistant Professor (RTDA) of Food science and technology [AGRI-07/A]

Dr. Lucia Parafati winner of the PON RESEARCH and INNOVATION tender (DM n. 1062/2021) is currently a type A fixed-term researcher (art. 24 paragraph 3 a), lg. 240/10) SSD AGR15 - Food Science and Technology, at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A) of the University of Catania, within the project entitled "Use of immobilized enzymes obtained from selected microorganisms, in replacement of sulfur dioxide, for the management of spontaneous fermentations induced by apiculated yeasts”.
The beginnings of her research activity date back to 2011, when thanks to the "Erasmus project" Dr. Parafati carried out research activities in collaboration with the microbiology and dietetics laboratory of the Prague University "Czech University of Life Science" (Czech Republic) later graduating from the University of Catania, Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment with an experimental thesis entitled: "Validation of the selective medium Mupirocin Mucin Agar for the isolation of Bifidobacterium bifidum". In 2013, Dr. Parafati began the International PhD in "Phytosanitary Technologies and Defense of Agroecosystems" and conducted research on the use of biocontrol agents (BCA), as an alternative solution to the use of fungicides and chemical substances potentially dangerous, in order to improve the quality and safety of post-harvest food. During her doctoral period, Dr. Parafati also carried out research activities as a "visiting PhD student" at the USDA, Appalachian Fruit Research, United States Department of Agriculture, Kearneysville, WV, (U.S.) , where under the guidance of Prof. Michael Wisniewski he used RT-q PCR techniques, in order to evaluate the gene expression of the yeast strain W. anomalus BS91, producer of glucanase, an enzyme with important biocontrol activity against fungi phytopathogens responsible for huge losses of vegetable commodities during post-harvest storage.

Dr. Parafati has carried out scientific activity regarding the characterization of plant extracts, obtained from by-products of the food industry, for their content in total polyphenols, antioxidant activity, antimicrobial activity and inhibitory activity on enzymes with important metabolic activity. Furthermore, she has focused her research on analyzing the antimicrobial and functional characteristics of new ingredients deriving from by-products of the food industry.

In particular, Dr. Parafati was involved, together with Prof. Palmeri, in the design and implementation of various research activities concerning the use of by-products of the "Agostani" prickly pear processing industry. These fruits, highly widespread in Sicily, are not used for direct consumption due to their small size and high seed content; in fact, the "Bastardoni" fruits deriving from the induction of a second flowering in the plant are preferred to these. A research work conducted in order to evaluate the semi-finished products of prickly pear fruits has highlighted how, although considered a by-product, the "Agostani" fruits have a high antioxidant activity and a high content of bioactive compounds compared to the " bastards".

Furthermore, today the research activity is aimed at the development of innovative techniques through enzymatic systems in musts and/or wines for the optimization of the production process of sulphite-free wines

Last edit: 04/30/2024

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Academic Year 2021/2022