Cinzia Caggia

Full Professor of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Microbiology [AGRI-08/A]

Personal Info 

Born in Vittoria (RG) on September 19th, 1971

Nationality: Italian

Contact:; 095-7580218

University of Catania: Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A), via Santa Sofia, 98 95124 Catania (CT), I piano.

Full professor of Agrarian Microbiology (SSD: AGR16)

Since 3 July 2018 she is full professor of Agricultural Microbiology (SSD AGR16) at the University of Catania, where since 2001 she has been associate professor of the same SSD. Since 2021 she has been in charge of the Section of Chemistry, Microbiology and Technologies (CHIMITEC) of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A) of the University of Catania. She is proponent of the Spin-off ProBioEtna s.r.l. of the University of Catania, established in June 2021. She is the proponent lecturer of the INTERDEPARTMENTAL CENTER FOR RESEARCH IN NUTRACEUTICS AND HEALTH PRODUCTS, activated in 2022, at the Department of Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences, of the University of Catania. Since January 2021 she is a member of the NANO-i Ocular Nanotechnology Research Center, set up at the Department of Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences, of the University of Catania. Since 2018 she is a member of the "Interdepartmental Research Center for the implementation of physical, chemical and biological monitoring processes in bioremediation and aquaculture systems". Since 2002 she has been a member of the Italian Society of Agro-Food and Environmental Microbiology (SIMTREA), within she has been a member of the Didactic Observatory since 2009, from 2016 to 2019 she has been in the Director Board and from 2018 to 2021 she has been vice-president. She is in the ANVUR Register of Disciplinary Experts for the evaluation of study courses in the Agricultural Sciences area. She is tutor, in co-tutorship with prof. Prof. Antônio Fernandes de Carvalho, of the Department of Food Science and Technology of the Federal University of Viçosa (Brazil) of the PhD student Andressa Fusieger, enrolled in the doctoral course in Food Science and Technology, Federal University of Viçosa and in the doctoral course in Agricultural, Food and Environmental Science, University of Catania (2019-2022). Visiting professor in the CAPES-PRINT program (PRINT - PROGRAMA INSTITUCIONAL DE INTERNACIONALIZAÇÃO) at the Department of CIÊNCIA E TECNOLOGIA DE ALIMENTOS of the Federal University of Viçosa (Brazil). Since 2018 she has been proposing lecturer, for the University of Catania, of the ERASMUS ERASMUS agreement (Food Processing area) with the Universidad de Extremadura, Spain. From 2012 to 2016 she was President of the Board of the Study Course of Food Science and Technology, L26 (University of Catania). Since 2018 she is Head of Quality Assurance at Di3A. She was Secretary of the Board of the National Coordination of Study Programs in Food Science and Technology (COSTAL) and, since 2014, member of the group of experts for the disciplinary skills test (TECO-D), Food sector, Agricultural Sciences Area. From 2013 to 2019 she was Secretary of the Board of the National Coordination of Degree Programs in Food Science and Technology (COSTAL). Since 2014, on the proposal of the National Coordination of Degree Programs in Food Science and Technology (COSTAL), she has been a member of the group of experts for the disciplinary skills test (TECOD), Food sector, within the Agricultural Sciences. Since 2015 she is into ANVUR Register of Disciplinary Experts for the evaluation of Agricultural Sciences area courses. She was a member of the Scientific Committee of the Ragusa Dairy Supply Chain Research Consortium (2013-2017) and of the Scientific Technical Committee of the Consortium for the Protection of Piacentinu Ennese Cheese (2015-2018). She is scientific component of the memorandum of understanding between Di3A and the Committee for the recognition of the Protected Designation of Origin of the "Nocellara Etnea Oliva di Paternò" (2020-2022). She is currently included in the REPRISE Register of Scientific Experts (Mur) for the sections: basic research; industrial research. She was an auditor for the 2011-2014 VQR on behalf of ANVUR (GEV 02.05, 06, 07). She has been evaluator of PRIN, FIRB, SIR projects, and has been part of the CIVR Register of Experts for the exercise of national research evaluation (VTR), organized by the Steering Committee for Research Evaluation (CIVR). She has been an external evaluator of projects for the award of research grants, evaluator for the University Call for numerous national offices. Since 2016 she has been enrolled in the Roster register of individual experts at the service of the Regional Strategy of Intelligent Specialization, as an Agri-food Thematic Expert of the Sicilian Region. She has had numerous institutional and ministerial positions. She was Deputy Director of the Department, member of the Joint Student Teacher Commission for the Department of Management of Agri-food and Environmental Systems; she is a representative member of the second level professors in the council of the Department of Agricultural and Food Production Sciences. From 2014 to 2019 she was a member of the Presidential Council of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment. From 2013 to 2014 she was Head of the Agri-food Microbiology Section of the Department of Management of Agri-food and Environmental Systems, and from 2014 to 2018 of the same Section of Di3A. She was a member and president of numerous selection procedures in the AGR16 sector in various Italian locations and for CREA. She has been a full member of commissions for the admission and final evaluation of a PhD and of numerous commissions for the qualification to practice the profession of Food Technologist. She was in charge of the Agri-food Microbiology Section. She is envolved in numerous research projects with local, national and international companies and collaborate with numerous research centers and Italian and foreign universities.


Last edit: 05/16/2024

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Academic Year 2021/2022

Academic Year 2020/2021

Academic Year 2019/2020

Academic Year 2018/2019

Academic Year 2017/2018

Academic Year 2016/2017

Academic Year 2015/2016

Main research lines

Cinzia’s scientific activity is carried out in the food microbiology field; in particular she focuses her study on the microbiology of fermented foods. Her research subjects concern the selection and the taxonomic study of microorganisms, above all lactic acid bacteria, acetic acid bacteria, yeasts and pathogens involved in the production of several natural fermented foods. Negative aspects (such as spoilage, diseases) of microorganisms are also studied as well as positive health effects of (probiotic) microorganisms and the production of antimicrobial compounds (bacteriocins) are the main topics of her research. 

The research activity is conducted in the field of food microbiology, with particular regard to microbiological safety, the study of the dynamism of the microbial population, the selection of strains of biotechnological interest. In particular, foods of plant origin, including table olives and foods of animal origin, including traditional and non-traditional cheeses, are of interest to study. Further research topics concern the study of the probiotic characteristics of strains isolated from food matrices for the development of innovative foods and / or functional drinks starting also from by-products of the agro-food industries. Recent research activities are aimed at the study of the vaginal microbiota, the spread of antibiotic resistance, in strains of the genus Enterococcus and Escherichia coli isolated from both environmental and food matrices and the enhancement of the by-products of the oil industry. fermented (cheeses, table olives, sourdoughs, wine, etc).Microbial population in fermented foods (eg cheese, table olive, sourdough, wine etc):  isolation of lactic acid bacteria, acetic acid bacteria and yeasts; phenotypic and genotypic characterization of micro-organisms

Since 2001 he has coordinated the Agricultural Microbiology group of the University of Catania.

Involvement in funded projects

2022: Scientific tutor of the doctorate Art. 2.1 - I) Innovative - Intersectoral doctorates, dealing with the themes of the "Industry 4.0" initiative, characterized by strong industrial interest and the involvement of companies that carry out industrial activities aimed at the production of goods or services in line with the "National Strategy of Intelligent Specialization 2014-2020" approved by the European Commission, funded by INPS as part of the Doctorate in Biotechnology (XXXVII cycle) “Microbial resources for the enhancement of Etna's wine production”.

2022: Sustainable poultry production chain: biocontrol measures, new dietary approaches and novel packaging strategies. PRIN2021: RESEARCH PROJECTS OF RELEVANT NATIONAL INTEREST - Call 2020.

2018: Attraction and International Mobility call for proposals. Activity 3 1 researcher line 1. Project title “Upgrading of Sicilian cheeses through the formulation of functional products with reduced fat content”.

2018: Project for the request of innovative PhDs with industrial characterization of the PON RI 2014-2010 A.A. 2017/2018 Cycle XXXIV. Proposal title: "Enhancement of by-products of the oil industry through the production of new foods and functional ingredients - Olive oil by-products as a new functional food and source of nutritional food ingredients". Funded for A.A. 2018-2019 XXXV Cycle for the PhD in Biotechnology.

2016-2018 Three-year Research Plan 2016-2018 2nd year: PRA “Natural substances and starter crops for the quality and microbiological safety of food”.

2016-2018. Three-year Research Plan 2016-2018: PRA “Biotechnological use of microorganisms and natural antimicrobial compounds in the agro-food sector”. Activity: “Study of agro-food microbial ecosystems”.

2018. P.O. FESR SICILY 2014/2020 Thematic Objective 1 - Research, Technological Development and Innovation Specific Objective 1.1 - Increase in the innovation activity of companies. Action 1.1.3 - Support for the economic enhancement of innovation through the experimentation and adoption of innovative solutions in processes, products and organizational formulas, as well as through the financing of the industrialization of research results. Project code 07TP1039000074. Project title: "Integrated approach for the enhancement and innovation of the olive production chain through the production of probiotic table olives".

2018: P.O. FESR SICILY 2014/2020. Action 1.1.5- Support for the technological advancement of companies through the financing of pilata lines and early product validation and large-scale demonstration actions. Project title: "BioTrak: Definition and qualification of an innovative system of traceability and certification of livestock supply chains characterized by the use of residual biomasses from the olive sector". Activity 1: "Validation of the effect of dietary variation on animal welfare (lactating cattle and beef cattle) by identifying markers of the ruminal fecal microbiome. Activity 2: “Identification of biological markers for the microbiological safety of products of animal origin”.

2018: P.O. FESR SICILY 2014/2020. Action 1.1.5- Support for the technological advancement of companies through the financing of pilata lines and early product validation and large-scale demonstration actions..

  1. MISE project “Sustainable use of by-products from the industrial processing of citrus fruits”. Activity 4.3: “Use of pulp as a soil improver and innovations in the composting process”.. 2007/2013: Measure 124 of the RDP 2007/13 - Cooperation for the development of new products, processes and technologies in the agricultural and food sectors, and in the forestry sector "Applications of innovative processes for the enhancement of products and by-products of the olive sector" (application no. 9475002326). Activity title: “Use of selected strains for the fermentation of natural table olives”. GURS n ° 29 of 06/26/2009.

Research activities financed by companies BK Giulini GmbH (a subsidary of ICL Group, Germany). "Evaluation of JOHA®HBS at different concentrations against two Bacillus spp. strains in vegetative and spore forms trough in vitro and in vivo test "(2021); Dicofarm Spa, Rome. “Effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (ATCC53103) in oncology. Activity title AGR16 “Analysis of the effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG on neoplastic cells in vitro” (2017-2020); Laborest Italia Srl, Nerviano (Milan). Project title: "Isolation and characterization of lactic acid bacteria strains of human origin" (2018-2019); MISTER BIO FOOD s.r.l., Crespadoro (VI) and FRESCOLAT s.r.l., Caerano San Marco (TV). Project title: "Set-up of a fermented product based on sprouted brown rice functionalized through the addition of probiotic strains and evaluation of the bioavailability of bioactive molecules"; (2019); Enfarma srl Misterbianco (CT). Project title: “Functional characterization and antimicrobial activity of strains of human origin”; (2019); BIONAP srl. (CT). Project title: "Study of the bifidogenic activity of natural extracts"; (2019); Metrodora Therapeutics LLC New York. USA. Project title: “Characterization of the antimicrobial activity of bovine lactoferrin” (2019-2020); NOOS srl, Rome. Project title "Study of the effects of a mixture of probiotics (Pentabiocer) on the intestinal microbiota of pediatric subjects with functional abdominal pain"; (2019-2020); Avimecc Spa. Project title: "Shelf Life Project" (2019-2020) Dicofarm spa, Rome. "Study of the effects of probiotics on the endometrial microbial population" (2020-2021); BIONAP srl. Belpasso (CT). Project title: "Effects of Mucosave on the intestinal microbiota of subjects with gastrointestinal discomfort (2020); ProBiotix Health Ltd. UK. Project title: "Application of the cholesterol-lowering Lactobacillus plantarum ECGC 13110402 strain to set up a fresh low-fat functional cheese" (2020-2021); Argital Spa company project title: "Identification of altering microorganisms and evaluation of the efficacy of preservative molecules" (2019/2020). Commissioned research activities Chr. Hansen A / S - Boege At 10/12 - 2970 Hørsholm, Denmark. Project title: Evaluation Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus fumigatus growth inhibition by CH strains (Lactobacillus animalis, Propionibacterium freudenreichii, Bacillus subtilis, and Bacillus licheniformis); (2019); La Cava srl (Randazzo, CT). Project title: CHEESE LIGHT: fat replacer for a new cheese presented pursuant to the Fondimpresa Notice: 1/2019, code AVI / 001C / 19 ID 272636 CUP G28D20000110008 (2019). Organization or participation in national and international conferences / congresses 2021: member of the Scientific Committee and Organizing Committee of the 6th International Conference on Microbial Diversity "" MD21: Advances in Microbial Diversity ", Virtual Event, December 14-15, 2021. 2019: President of the Organizing Committee of the 5th International Conference on Microbial Diversity "Microbial diversity as a source of novelty", Catania, 25-27 September 2019. 2019: Scientific Responsible of the temporary exhibition "Extraordinary microorganisms" organized by the University Museum System (SiMuA) in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A), by the University Center for the Protection and Management of Natural Environments and Agro -ecosystems (Cutgana) and by the Italian Society of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Microbiology (Simtrea). September November 2019. In 2018 she was President of the Organizing Committee of the 3th Global Halal Forum "MENA - Sicily: connecting intelligences and creating the future", organized in collaboration with the Halal Research Council and the Order of Technologists Sicily and Sardinia, Catania 17-18 October 2018. In 2018 she was invited speaker for Session 3 - Microbial biodiversity and food quality for the XII National Conference on Biodiversity 2018, Teramo, 13-15 June, with the Keynote lecture "Starter crops in the post-genomic era". In 2017 she was President of the Organizing Committee of the "Global Halal Forum", organized with the collaboration of the Halal Research Council, Palermo, May 26-27, 2017. In 2017 she was invited speaker at the Study Day "A Good Diet Helps Prevent Cancer" organized by the AIRC in Catania, May 12, 2017. Speech: "Probiotics in 3D". In 2017 she was invited speaker at the session of the National Olive and Oil Academy in Sicily, 9-10 November 2017. Speech: "Role of lactic bacteria in the fermentation of table olives" In 2016 she was president of the Organizing Committee of the "Two days Specialized Training Workshop on Halal Industry (Food, Cosmetics & Logistic), Ragusa 6 and 7 May 2016. In 2015, in collaboration with the AIRC (Catania Delegation), you organized the Agriculture, Food and Health Study Day, March 19, 2015 at Di3A. She acts as reviewer for numerous international scientific journals in the sector, since 2017 she is Editorial Board Member for the journal "Journal of Food and Clinical Nutrition", since 2019 Editor in Chief of SCIENCE AND TECHNIQUE LATTIERO-DAIRY, the official journal of ITEL - ASSOCIATION ITALIANA TECNICI DEL LATTE (ITALIAN DAIRY SCIENCE ASSOCIATION, from 2020 for the Applied Microbiology magazine ( and from 2021 for the magazine Microrganisms.