Agri Food & Nutrition Genomics #AFNGC
The AFNGC will lead the strategic development of novel healthier foods derived from self-sustainable agricultural systems.Italy is a renowned world leader for the quality of its agricultural produce, its food products, and its diet, thus it can act as a hub addressing the national and European challenges of ensuring a safer, healthier, and more sustainable food production for human and animal nutrition.
Nutrition plays a key role in the prevention of chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer, where unhealthy diet is recognized as one of the major risk factor. As a result, the entire food chain is involved in the provision and consumption of healthy diets, and is closely interconnected with other areas such as healthcare, environment and individual lifestyles.
Food production is the main outcome of agricultural activities. However, the current forms of both intensive and extensive agriculture are intrinsically fragile in terms of sustainability. Innovative solutions based on high levels of scientific knowledge are needed to develop agricultural systems that require less energy input. In other words, a food program must consider the centrality of sustainability to agriculture.
The genomic revolution has involved all field of biology revealing the metabolic networks that shape plant, animal, and microbial, all traits of agricultural interest. Therefore, the AFNGC, in collaboration with other HT centers, will invest in the generation, integration, and interpretation of all data and then transform data into an understanding of the molecular and physiological impact of nutrition on human health, in order to develop functional solutions for disease prevention and personalized nutrition.
The Agri-Food & Nutrition Genomics Center will be organised along 4 main Research Lines:
- Crop Genomics and Biotechnology #RL1
- Functional and Systems Metagenomics and Metabolomics #RL2
- Food, Host, and Microbiota Interactions #RL3
- Personalised Nutrition #RL4
In addition to the “Common Technology-Development Platforms” described in Facility F1, the Center will implement the following enabling technological platforms specific to its activities:
- greenhouses and high-throughput plant phenotyping;
- plant biotech lab and genome editing;
- plant cell culture;
- plant genome analysis (PacBio) and plant cytogenetics (BioNano);
- microbial biotechnology.
The AFNGC will comprise a central research facility at the EXPO site and several laboratories inside and outside HT. Collaborative agreements will involve the University of Milano (Smart Crops and Smart Food), FEM (Genomics and Post-genomics of Fruit Crops), CREA (Seed Genomics, Precision Agriculture), IIT (Precision Agriculture and Innovative Packaging), and PTP (Bioinformatics and Crop Biotechnology). It will create synergies with the Center for Smart Materials and Device to develop technological innovations and translational activities to improve food quality and safety.