Simona Tortorici

PhD Student - XXXIV Cycle Agricultural, Food and Environmental Science - Tutor: Lucia Zappalà
Office: : Lotta Biologica laboratory (First floor) – Office # 316 (Third floor), Via Santa Sofia, 100.
Phone: 0957147357
Web Site:

  • 2018-2021: PhD course in Agricultural, Food and Environmental Science, University of Catania. Research project: “Development of plant-derived new tools for sustainable tomato pest management”. The main aim of the PhD project is to improve the sustainable and integrated control of key pests of tomato, such as Tuta absoluta, Spodoptera littoralis (Boisduval) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), by optimizing the natural plant defenses and providing new tools. Specifically, the aim of the project includes the identification and selection of new natural substances, produced from the resistance responses of the plants or among plant-derived active compounds. These will be evaluated for their potential target and non-target toxicity towards arthropod pests and natural enemies.
  • Oct-Dec 2018: Visiting Erasmus + Traineeship at the Laboratorie Agronomie et Environnement, Université de Lorraine, Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), École nationale supérieure d'agronomie et des industries alimentaires (ENSAIA) (France), under the supervision of Dr. Romain Larbat.
  • 2017-2018: Master’s Degree in Agricultural Sciences and Technologies (LM69), University of Catania; supervisors: Prof. Lucia Zappalà and Dott. Antonio Biondi. Degree thesis: “Tuta absoluta: plant suitability and pest-induced resistance on tomato plants”. Final mark: 110/110 cum laude.
  • 2013-2016: Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Sciences and Technologies (L25), University of Catania; supervisor: Dott. Alessandro Vitale. Degree thesis: “Recrudescence of wheat diseases caused by airborne fungi due to global climatic changes”. Final mark: 105/110.
  • 2011: Scientific High School Graduation, Liceo Scientifico “Galileo Galilei”, Catania.

Sustainable management through biological control tools, such as plant defenses and natural enemies, in the horticultural crops of the Mediterranean basin

  • Sciortino, M., Scurria, A., Lino, C., Pagliaro, M., D'Agostino, F., Tortorici, S., ... & Ciriminna, R. (2021). Silica-Microencapsulated Orange Oil for Sustainable Pest Control. Advanced Sustainable Systems5(4), 2000280.
  • Tortorici, S. (2019). Plant suitability to the South American tomato pinworm and pest-induced resistance in wild and commercial Solanum species. Book of abstract of the 1st Joint Meeting of Agriculture-oriented PhD Programs, 17-21 June 2019, Catania-Salina (Italy)
  • Siscaro, G., Lo Pumo, C., Tropea Garzia, G., Tortorici, S., Gugliuzzo, A., Ricupero, M., Biondi, A., Zappalà, A. (2019). Temperature and tomato variety influence the development and the plant damage induced by the zoophytophagous mirid bug Nesidiocoris tenuis. Journal of Pest Science doi: 10.1007/s10340-019-01096-7 (2017 IF: 4.4; 2/96 in Entomology)
  • Tortorici, S., Biondi, A., Tropea Garzia, G., Larbat, R., Siscaro, G., Zappalà, L. (2018). Plant suitability to the South American tomato pinworm and pest-induced resistance in 11 tomato varieties. Oral presentation at the 14th meeting of the IOBC-WPRS Working Group "Integrated Control in Protected Crops, Mediterranean Climate”, 4-7 September 2018, Lisbon (Portugal)
  • Mansour, R., Cavallaro, C., Alinç, T., Tortorici, S., Desneux, N., Russo, A., Siscaro, A., Zappalà, L., Biondi, A. (2018). Sublethal effects of insecticides on Trichopria drosophilae, a pupal parasitoid of the invasive spotted wing drosophila. Poster presented at the XI European Congress of Entomology, 2-6 July 2018, Naples (Italy)