University of Bologna

The Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna offers degree courses perfectly fitting the preparation of the modern graduates in Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences.

First and Second cycle degree programmes include: 8 first cycle degrees/bachelor and 6 second-cycle degrees or 2 years Masters’ courses.

The University of Bologna has three locations where it offers its degree courses in Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences, guaranteeing modernly equipped classrooms and laboratories.

In the Bologna place of teaching 4 first degrees are offered and precisely in: Agricultural Technology, Animal Production, Land and Agro-Forestry, Marketing and Economics of the Agro-Industrial System. The second degrees taught at Bologna place are: Agricultural Sciences and Technologies, Planning and management of agro-territorial, forest and landscape, International Horticultural Science (English Language), Precise and Sustainable Agriculture (English Language).

In the Imola place of teaching the first degree in Sciences and Technologies for Green and Landscape is offered.

In the Cesena place of teaching the first degree in Food Technology, Viticulture and Enology, and Sciences and Culture of Gastronomy are offered. The second degree taught at Cesena place is Food Science and Technology.

The teaching programme is finally supplemented by an inter-university course in English called Food Safety and Food Risk Management. The involved University are Parma, Reggio Emilia, Piacenza, Modena, Bologna.

Thanks to this training offer, constantly updated, the University of Bologna is positioned in the excellence of training in agriculture and food, attracting every year an increasing number of international students. During the enrolment in Academic Year 2021/2022, for examples, the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences has received over 300 applications to enrol for the Precise and Sustainable Agriculture degree.

Most of the courses offered by the University of Bologna have been recently revisited to give more space to those issues of innovation that are investing them, among these we emphasize those of sustainability and digitalization.


Agrobigdata Science

S3O  Smart Specialized Sustainable Orchard

This demonstrator project is a test-bed featuring an innovative, scientifically sound, smart combination of existing technologies, that allows to improve the sustainability of our Region’s Fruit Growing Sector by:

Reduction of CO2 Emissions: we have developed a fully autonomous, electric rover, capable of travelling to the orchard and back, for spraying and moving; its charge is provided by state-of-the-art, high efficiency power storage solutions, including smart, AI-adopting charge/discharge controllers, to enhance battery output and life. 

50% Reduction in irrigation: we have achieved 50% reduction in irrigation over two years, without losses in fruit quality and production, thanks to the covers placed on the trees (anti-hail; anti-insect and raincovers) which modify the orchard environment. Irrigation is managed in full IoT configuration by the IRRIFRAME DSS of the Canale Emiliano Romagnolo (CER) Irrigation Project.

Reduction in pesticide use: the screens against stinkbug and Carpocapsa are integrated with rain-shelters covering individual rows that reduce leaf wetting and improve the efficacy of the fixed-point spraying system. Preliminary results show the potential for this solution to reduce pesticide use.

Reduction in wastage and improved resource management: the orchard maximizes the efficiency of all inputs. The widespread adoption of precision orchard management techniques and sensor arrays generates data flows that will be analyzed according to Big Data approaches.

Life-cycle analysis: the project will assess the economic performance of the demonstrator, to determine the desirability/convenience for growers to adopt the S3O solution.

Thanks to the teams of Engineers, Irrigation and Pest management specialists, social scientists and ecophysiologists working in S3O, this demonstrator showcases Precision Fruit Growing 4.0, a challenging endeavor that offers exciting new job perspectives to young professionals.

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A vertical farm with artificial light is a high-tech indoor cultivation system, and is one of the climate change adaptation strategies that can be adopted in horticulture. ALMAVFarm is the first experimental vertical farm in Italy.

In the framework of the European Horizon2020 project ” FoodE, Food Systems in European Cities”, the first experimental vertical farm (the AlmaVFarm) has been recently created at the University of Bologna.

In AlmaVFarm, dimmable LED lamps modulate light intensity and spectra, up to 25 light combinations, to meet the specific needs of cultivated species.

Two hydroponic growing systems (Ebb and Flow and Aeroponics), associated with six independent fertigation units, allow the setting of different nutrient supply and management.

The closed-loop irrigation system together with a transpired water recovery mechanism allow theevaluation of the water use per single crop cycle related to the cultivation management.

Moreover, electrical consumption of each component can be continuously checked to evaluate howchanges in environmental parameters can affect energy needs.

Finally, all components are monitored for their environmental impacts and economic performances through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) methodologies.

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Agrobigdata Science

The aim of AGRO BIG DATA SCIENCE is to apply the data-driven approach on 3 selected, high-value, horticulture food supply chains, named spinach, pear and kiwifruit. Data-driven approach consists in making decision according to the real-time data collected from the field. This approach provides precise, site-specific outputs, to make the management as sustainable as possible with the lowest input necessary for the highest profit.

Scientists from the Agri-Food Research Unit of University of Bologna select the most proper data for a given problem; while scientists of the Information and Communication Technology Unit analyze the data and release the outputs to the advisory service and finally to the growers.

In case of water management of kiwifruit this approach allowed the growers to save as much as 25% of water, with an increase of fruit quality.


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The aim of the INNOFRUVE project is to exploit the expertise of some Laboratories and Centres of High Technology Network of the Emilia-Romagna Region (to foster innovation in the regional agri-food industry and the qualitative and functional improvement of different products of plant origin, as well as the valorization of processing waste.

In this sense, the relationship between primary production and cold chain will be examined by evaluating the qualitative variations of new fruit varieties during cold storage. During the processing step, innovative technologies will be tested on a pilot scale with the aim of stabilizing and increasing the functionality of minimally processed fruit and vegetable preserves (high homogenization pressures, pulsed electric fields, vacuum impregnation).

This process will be implemented through the characterization of the shelf-life of the ended products, applying instrumental and numerical models in order to estimate and predict the maintenance of the physical, chemical, nutritional and sensory properties of the products, in real storage conditions. In addition, technologies will be developed to recover  and to produce nutritionally significant components and biopolymers from processing waste.

The objectives of the project  are:

  • to optimize storage conditions in post-harvest and quality control of some new fruit varieties, based on different uses (fresh consumption and / or processing);
  • to produce high quality / functional plant mashed stabilized with innovative non-thermal technologies, such as high homogenization pressures and pulsed electrical fields;
  • to develop innovative and functional fresh-cut products following formulation with mild treatments (osmotic dehydration, pulsed electric fields, vacuum impregnation);
  • to implement advanced logistics for the evaluation and control of shelf-life of frozen products;
  • to enhance vegetable processing waste using a biorefinery scheme, designed to recover high-value-added molecules and biogas production.
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