Cinzia Caggia

Full Professor of Agricultural Microbiology [AGR/16]
Office: Via Santa Sofia, 98 - 1° piano
Phone: 095 7580218
Web Site:
Office Hours: Monday from 15:00 to 17:00 | Friday from 12:00 to 14:00

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 2018 she is full professor in Agricultural Microbiology and group leader at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A) of University of Catania (UNICT). Since 2001 she has been involved in academic and research activities on Food Microbiology Field.

She is Vice-President for the three-year period 2018-2021 of the Scientific Italian Society of Agri-Food and Environmental Microbiology (SIMTREA), in which, since 2009 she is a member of the Observatory of Education, and since 2016 a member of the Board of Directors.

Since 2018 she is delegate of Di3A Quality Insurance.

From 2001 to 2018 she was an associate professor of Agricultural Microbiology at UNICT. Since 2001 he has been teaching for the undergraduate and master courses in Food Sciences and Technology, Agricultural Sciences and Technology and Agricultural Biotechnology. Since 2001 she has been a member of the College of PhD and has been tutor of 7 PhD thesis. She is scientific director of numerous research projects with local, national and international companies and collaborates with numerous research centers and Universities in Italy and abroad.

She is tutor for the ERASMUS-Study 2018-2021 agreement, in the Food Processing area, PRODUCCIÓN ANIMAL Y CIENCIA DE LOS ALIMENTOS GRADE EN INGENIERÍA DE LAS INDUSTRIAS AGRARIAS Y ALIMENTARIAS (BADAJOZ) - the Universidad de Extremadura. Spain.

For the three-year period 2019-2022 he is tutor, in cooperation with Prof.  Prof. Antônio Fernandes de Carvalho, of the Department of Food Science and Technology of the Federal University of Viçosa (Brazil) of PhD student Andressa Fusieger, enrolled in the PhD course in Food Science and Technology, Federal University of Viçosa and in the PhD course in Agricultural, Food and Environmental Science, University of Catania.
Visiting professor in the CAPES-PRINT programme (PRINT - PROGRAMA INSTITUCIONAL DE INTERNACIONALIZAÇÃO) at the Department of CIÊNCIA E TECNOLOGIA DE ALIMENTOS of the Federal University of Viçosa (Brazil).


She is national coordinator of the Global Food Microbiology Teachers Network; she is in the ANVUR Register of Disciplinary Experts for the evaluation of courses of study in the agricultural sciences area.

She was Secretary of the Italian Joint Coordination of Studies in Food Sciences and Technologies (COSTAL) and, since 2014, a member of the Panel for The Disciplinary Skills Test (TECO-D), Food Sector, Agricultural Sciences Area. She is currently included in the REPRISE Register of Scientific Experts (Miur) for sections: basic research; industrial research. She was auditor for VQR 2011-2014 on behalf of ANVUR (GEV 02.05, 06, 07), external evaluator for research grant projects of several Italian universities.

Since 2016 she is in as a Agri-Food Thematic Expert in the List of Experts in the Regional Intelligent Specialization Strategy, of the Sicilian Region. She was assessor of PRIN, FIRB, SIR projects, and part of the CIVR Expert List for the Exercise of National Research Assessment (VTR), organized by the Research Assessment Address Committee (CIVR).

President of the International Conference Committee for Microbial Diversity conference  (MD2019) “Microbial Diversity as a source of novelty: function, adaptation and exploitation”, organized by SIMTREA, by University of Catania, University of Palermo, in collaboration with the Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l'Analisi Economico Agraria (CREA), the European Microbiological Societies (FEMS), the International Commission on Food Microbiology and Hygiene (ICFMH), and the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Catania 25th-27th September 2019.

Chair of the Session “Food Microbiology and Biotechnology” XXIV Workshop on the Developments in the Italian PhD Research on Food Science Technology and Biotechnology, Florence 11-13 September 2019.

President of the Conference Committee of the 3th Global Halal Forum “MENA - Sicilia: connettere le intelligenze e creare futuro”, organized in collaboration with Halal Research Council and Ordine dei Tecnologi Sicilia e Sardegna, Catania 17-18 October 2018.

Since 2019 she is leader for the UNICT group of the RING TEST Animal feeding stuffs _ DNA fingerprinting of lactobacilli, pediococci, enterococci and bacilli in animal feeds by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), coordinated by prof. Atte von Wright (University of Eastern Finland Food Biotechnology, Kuopio) in collaboration with the Biosafe Biological Safety Solutions Ltd, within the Project funded by European Committee for Standardization (CEN).

2019: Chr. Hansen A/S – Boege Alle 10/12 – 2970 Hørsholm, Denmark. Collaboration for “Evaluation Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus fumigatus growth inhibition by CH strains (Lactobacillus animalis, Propionibacterium freudenreichii, Bacillus subtilis, and Bacillus licheniformis)”, as reported in  “Inhibition of toxin-producing Aspergilli by Lactobacillus animalis and Propionibacterium freudenreichii” (by Copani G., Milora N., Queiroz O.C., Russo N., Pino A., Randazzo C.L., Caggia C) at the 6th International Symposium on Forage Quality and Conservation, Alameda dos Alecrins, Piracicaba – SP Brazil, November 07-08, 2019.

2019: Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sicilia (Ragusa). Project: “The wide range of antibiotic resistance and genotypic profiles of Escherichia coli isolated from domestic animals in Eastern Sicily” (by Stamilla A., Russo N., Messina A., Antoci F., Cascone G., Lanza M., Randazzo C.L., Caggia C.), 5th International Conference Microbial Diversity, Catania, 25th-27th September 2019.

Institutional and ministerial nominations. She was Chair of the Food Science and Technology Degree Course Council at UNICT, Deputy Director of the Department, member of the Departmental Commission Student Professor Commission, member of associate professors within the Department Board, member of member of competition committee for researcher, associate and dull professors, head of the Agro-Food Microbiology Section. She has been an effective member of committee both for admission and final evaluation of PhD and numerous committee for qualification to practice the profession of Food Technologist.

Teaching courses: Since 1996, she has held university courses for study course in microbiology filed in degree/master and PhD courses provided at Di3A. Since 2001 she is the holder of the course of Food Microbiology, for the degree course in Food Sciences and Technology. For the same degree course she taught courses in Microbiology of Fermented Food, General Microbiology, Microbiological Techniques, Environmental Microbiology and Fermented Food Biotechnology. For the master's degree course in Agricultural Biotechnology she holds the Genetics of Microorganisms course. For the degree course in Agricultural Sciences and Technology she held the course of Agricultural Microbiology.

Editorial activity

2019: Guest Editor for the Thematic Issue “Microbial diversity as a source of novelty: function, adaptation and exploitation” for FEMS Microbiology Letters.

2019: Guest Editor for the Special Issue “Microbial Populations of Fermented Foods” for the journal Microorganisms (ISSN 2076-2607; CODEN: MICRKN) an online journal by MDPI.

2019: Editorial/Scientific Board member of Scienza e Tecnica Lattiero-Casearia- Journal of the Italian Dairy Science Association (AITeL), Italy

2018: Topic Editor, for the Research Topic “Vegetable Matrix as a Source of Nutritional and Microbial Value for Healthy Food” for Frontiers in Microbiology and Nutrition and Food Science Technology.

Since 2017 she is Editorial Manager for “Journal of Food and Clinical Nutrition”.


Awarded scientific proposals

2018: Attraction and International Mobility. Attività 3 1 ricercatore linea 1. Titolo del progetto “Upgrading di formaggi siciliani attraverso la formulazione di prodotti funzionali a ridotto contenuto di grasso”. Funded.

2018: Innovative PhDs with industrial characterisation within PON RI program 2014-2010 with the project “Valorizzazione di sottoprodotti dell’industria olearia attraverso la produzione di nuovi alimenti e ingredienti funzionali - Olive oil by-products as a new functional food and source of nutritional food ingredients”. Funded.

Research lines  

Cinzia Caggia’s scientific activity is carried out in the food microbiology field; in particular, she focuses her study on the microbiology of fermented foods as certified by several publications on national and international journals and by her attendance to several international and national congresses. The latest research activities dial with the characterization of probiotic strains isolated from food matrices with the aim to develop innovative food and/or functional beverages, with special attention to the influence of strains on the dynamics the human gut microbiota. The main lines of research are listed below:

  • Study of microbial dynamics during fermentation process (cheeses, olives, sourdough, wine, vinegar, etc);
  • Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of food-related microorganisms at species and strain level;
  • Selection of probiotic strains and monitoring of their survival in food matrices and in human intestinal tract;
  • Microbiological safety of food: isolation and identification of pathogens;
  • Development of starter cultures for fermented foods: biotechnological characterization of strains;
  • Validation of technological processes on a laboratory scale and pilot plant;  
  • Selection of yeast strains with oenological characteristics;
  • Study of antibiotic resistance within the genus Enterococcus isolated from environmental and from food matrices;
  • Evaluation of water sanitation efficiency of Constructed Wetland (CW) system;
  • Study of vaginal microbiota;
  • Improvement of microbiological quality and shelf-life of minimally processed vegetables.


Book: Co-editor in “Cheese Ripening: Qualità, Safety and Health Aspects” in “Advances in Food Safety and Food Microbiology” edited by Anderson de Souza Sant'Ana and Bernadette DGM Franco (University of São Paulo, Brazil) ISBN 2152-2006, published by Nova Science Publisher Inc, New York, USA (2013).

Book Chapters:

  • Randazzo CL, Pino A, Van Hoorde K, Caggia C (2017) “LAB species and strain identification”. Chapter 8. In: Microbiology in Dairy Processing: Challenges and Opportunities. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 978-1-119-11480-2.
  • Randazzo CL, Rajendra R, Caggia C (2010) “Lactic acid bacteria in table olive fermentation”. In: “Olives and Olive Oil in Health and Disease Prevention (Ed Preedy VR and Watson RR) pp 369-376, Elsevier: 978-0-12-374420-3.
  • Caggia C, Randazzo CL, Scifò GO (2007) “Vegetali di IV gamma”. In “La Microbiologia Applicata alle Industrie Alimentari” (Ed L Cocolin, G Comi)” pp 359-414, Aracne Editrice Srl (Rimini), ISBN: 978-88-548-1109-6.
  • Randazzo CL, Pitino I, Caggia C (2013) “Pecorino Crotonese cheese: a source of microbial biodiversity with potential probiotic features”.  In “Handbook of Cheese in Health”, (Ed VR Preedy, RR Watson, VB Patel) pp 211-226. Wageningen Academic Publisher, Wageningen, The Netherlands, DOI: 10.3920/978-90-8686-766-01.  

Last edit: 01/13/2021

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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. Here there is a short summary of the investigated subjects:

  • 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
  • Identification at species and strain level: Microbial safety of foods: Detection and identification of pathogens; Use of bacteriocins for bio-preservation
  • Biocontrol
  • Development of starter cultures for food fermentation: Biotechnology characterization of strains; Food processing in laboratory scale (using pilot plant);
  • Probiotics: In vitro assays for probiotic features of lactobacilli; Application of static and dynamic digestion model systems.