Horta Srl

Piacenza, Italy

Horta Srl

Piacenza, Italy
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Krska R.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | De Nijs M.,Wageningen University | McNerney O.,Innovacio I Recerca Industrial I Sostenible SL | Pichler M.,International Association for Cereal Science and Technology | And 11 more authors.
World Mycotoxin Journal | Year: 2016

There is a pressing need to mobilise the wealth of knowledge from the international mycotoxin research conducted over the past 25-30 years, and to perform cutting-edge research where knowledge gaps still exist. This knowledge needs to be integrated into affordable and practical tools for farmers and food processors along the chain in order to reduce the risk of mycotoxin contamination of crops, feed and food. This is the mission of MyToolBox - a four-year project which has received funding from the European Commission. It mobilises a multi-actor partnership (academia, farmers, technology small and medium sized enterprises, food industry and policy stakeholders) to develop novel interventions aimed at achieving a significant reduction in crop losses due to mycotoxin contamination. Besides a field-to-fork approach, MyToolBox also considers safe use options of contaminated batches, such as the efficient production of biofuels. Compared to previous efforts of mycotoxin reduction strategies, the distinguishing feature of MyToolBox is to provide the recommended measures to the end users along the food and feed chain in a web-based MyToolBox platform (e-toolbox). The project focuses on small grain cereals, maize, peanuts and dried figs, applicable to agricultural conditions in the EU and China. Crop losses using existing practices are being compared with crop losses after novel pre-harvest interventions including investigation of genetic resistance to fungal infection, cultural control (e.g. minimum tillage or crop debris treatment), the use of novel biopesticides suitable for organic farming, competitive biocontrol treatment and development of novel modelling approaches to predict mycotoxin contamination. Research into post-harvest measures includes real-time monitoring during storage, innovative sorting of crops using vision-technology, novel milling technology and studying the effects of baking on mycotoxins at an industrial scale. © 2016 Wageningen Academic Publishers.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.1.2-04 | Award Amount: 8.49M | Year: 2013

The strategic goal of the project is to help the European vineyard sector facing the increasingly global competition by meeting: * Consumer demands for diversified high quality wines and concerns for food safety * Citizens requests for environment-friendly production systems involving decreased or no use of pesticides and spare of not renewable natural resources * Producers needs of plant material, tools and methods to help them cope with the negative impacts of climate change while responding to demands for quality, environmental friendliness and needs of profitability To reach this overall goal, the project will: * At the plant level, improve and design agricultural practices (canopy management, irrigation, fertilisation, training systems, pest and disease control, etc.) aimed at maximising berry quality, durable resistance to pests and and diseases, and adaptation to climate change (higher CO2, drought, UV light, and higher temperatures) * At the vineyard level, design, develop and test innovative agronomic systems integrating new agricultural practices and taking into account the variability of constraints met by European vineyards grown under a wide range of environments * At the breeding level, diversify grapevine varieties with regard to desirable adaptative traits building on tools and knowledge developed through international breeding and genomic initiatives. The project will combine short, medium, and long-term approaches to respectively conceive innovative viticulture systems, design and test novel agronomic practices and decision support systems, and exploit the genetic diversity of grapevine that all together will ensure a progress towards sustainable viticulture.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.3.5-03 | Award Amount: 7.70M | Year: 2012

Water4Crops provides a combination of technical improvements in the field of bio-treatment and agricultural water use within a transdisciplinary identification of novel agri-business opportunities. Water4Crops aims at: a) developing innovative biotechnological wastewater treatments for improved water recycling, b) initiating the co-creation of alternative combinations of bio-treatment, recycling of high value elements, and combinations for bioproducts leading to a better commercialization of biotechnology and agricultural products in Europe and India, c)improving water use efficiency at field level through agronomics, plant breeding and locally adapted new irrigation technologies and accurate crop water requirement measurements techniques. Water4Crops will boost bio-based economy by applying a double track approach. First a comprehensive set of key Green-Economy technologies for: 1) valorization of volatile fatty acids; 2) obtaining: natural antioxidants (polyphenols), biopolymers (PHAs), energy (biomethane); 3) new substances for selective recovery of valuable products from wastewater; 4) tailoring effluent properties from decentralized innovative bioreactors; 5) low bio-sludge production by SBBG Reactors; 6) removal of organopollutants by nanobiocatalysts; 7) reduced clogging of wetlands; 8) virus monitoring detection assays; 9) suitable precision irrigation systems for reclaimed water; 10) new monitoring for increase crop water productivity; 11) understanding the genetic mechanisms regulating drought-adaptive traits across maize, sorghum, millet and tomato; 12) optimized waste water related combinations of species/genotypes x environment x management. Second, new product market combinations will be identified. The co-creation process will be organized by two Mirror cases (Emilia Romagna area in Italy and Hyderabad region in India) within a specific Science-Practice Interface (INNOVA platforms). Developing the new applications and business opportunities with regional enterprises and stakeholder will move India and Europe towards a Green Economy.


Rossi V.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Rossi V.,Horta Srl | Salinari F.,Horta Srl | Poni S.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | And 2 more authors.
Computers and Electronics in Agriculture | Year: 2014

Although many Decision Support Systems (DSSs) have been developed for crop management, DSSs have contributed little to practical agriculture because of the so-called 'problem of implementation'; under-utilisation has been ascribed to both technical limitations of the DSSs and to farmer attitude towards DSSs. A new DSS, named vite.net®, was developed for sustainable management of vineyards and is intended for the vineyard manager (the person who makes decisions about the vineyard management or suggests the proper actions to the grape-grower). The DSS has two main parts: (i) an integrated system for real-time monitoring of the vineyard components (air, soil, plants, pests, and diseases) and (ii) a web-based tool that analyses these data by using advanced modelling techniques and then provides up-to-date information for managing the vineyard in the form of alerts and decision supports. The information is tailored to a vineyard, or part of a vineyard, or a number of vineyards that are uniformly managed throughout the season. In the design and development of vite.net®, the implementation problem was specifically addressed by: (i) focusing on the important vineyard problems with a holistic approach (the DSS incorporates overall management solutions for growers); (ii) using automation and integration in data collection, and supporting flexible input efforts by the user; (iii) developing and validating fit-to-purpose, mechanistic, dynamic models; (iv) designing a user-friendly interface and providing complete and easy-to-understand information; (v) delivering the DSS through the Web and thereby enabling both continuous updating by the provider and flexible access by the user; (vi) designing the DSS with the goal of assisting the decision maker (by providing necessary information) rather than replacing the decision maker; (vii) involving potential users during vite.net® development and testing so as to obtain insight into how users make decisions; (viii) communicating the benefits of the DSS via seminars and visits to demonstration vineyards; (ix) involving chemical companies and other potential stakeholders; and (x) developing a two-way communication mode with the end-users, i.e., by combining "push" and "pull" systems. Feedback collected during development, testing, and practical use of vite.net® suggested that potential users were likely to use the DSS and that the 'implementation problem' had been successfully addressed. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-13-2015 | Award Amount: 5.24M | Year: 2016

MyToolBox mobilises a multi-actor partnership (academia, farmers, technology SMEs, food industry and policy stakeholders) to develop novel interventions aimed at achieving a 20-90% reduction in crop losses due to fungal and mycotoxin contamination. MyToolBox will not only pursue a field-to-fork approach but will also consider safe use options of contaminated batches, such as the efficient production of biofuels. A major component of MyToolBox, which also distinguishes this proposal from previous efforts in the area mycotoxin reduction, is to provide the recommended measures to the end users along the food and feed chain in a web-based Toolbox. Cutting edge research will result in new interventions, which will be integrated together with existing measures in the Toolbox that will guide the end user as to the most effective measure(s) to be taken to reduce crop losses. We will focus on small grain cereals, maize, peanuts and dried figs, applicable to agricultural conditions in EU and China. Crop losses using existing practices will be compared with crop losses after novel pre-harvest interventions including investigation of genetic resistance to fungal infection, cultural control, the use of novel biopesticides (organic-farming compliant), competitive biocontrol treatment and development of forecasting models to predict mycotoxin contamination. Research into post-harvest measures including real-time monitoring during storage, innovative sorting of crops using vision-technology and novel milling technology will enable cereals with higher mycotoxin levels to be processed without breaching regulatory limits in finished products. Research into the effects of baking on mycotoxin levels will provide better understanding of process factors used in mycotoxin risk assessment. Involvement of leading institutions from China are aimed at establishing a sustainable cooperation in mycotoxin research between the EU and China.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-1 | Award Amount: 1.44M | Year: 2011

The aim of the MoDeM_IVM project is to develop a new, interactive, web-based Decision Support System (DSS) for integrated management of the vineyard. The SME participants are strongly confident that the project results will improve their competitiveness in a very important and highly profitable market (i.e., grapevine in EU27), because of: i) the DSS is highly innovative and focused to solve practical problems; ii) end-users will draw clear economic and environmental advantages; iii) the EU policies will determine a huge increase of the Internet use in agricultural areas in coming years. The project has 8 partners (3 SMEs and 5 RTD performers) settled in four EU countries; other countries and end-users are involved in some project activities. The project has 8 Work Packages. RTD is mainly in charge to RTD performers but involves also the SMEs. Research is mainly addressed to: i) develop and integrate in a single system automatic sensors and hand-held devices for monitoring all the vineyard components (WP1); ii) develop mathematical models for the key aspects of the vineyard management (WP2); iii) define the best options for managing the vineyard according to the Integrated Production and bring these options into practical guidelines (WP2); iv) optimise decision making based on a cost-benefit analysis that also considers environmental impacts (WP3); v) develop the web-based DSS that: receives real-time input data from the vineyard; uses data for calculating optimised decision supports; shows the decision supports in a clear way (WP4). Dissemination activities (WP5) will be targeted to end users (validation of the DSS in commercial vineyards and seminars), and to the scientific world (international congress, publications and a web-site). Training for the SME staff is aimed at facilitating the take up of results (WP6). Management of the project activities, knowledge, IPR and exploitation of the results by the SMEs have a specific WP (WP7).


Calliera M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Berta F.,Syngenta | Galassi T.,Servizio Fitosanitario della Regione Emilia Romagna | Mazzini F.,Servizio Fitosanitario della Regione Emilia Romagna | And 7 more authors.
Pest Management Science | Year: 2013

BACKGROUND: In 2008-2009, a survey in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy collected information on the farm use of plant protection products (PPPs) and evaluated whether the provisions of the Directive for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides are applicable. It was concluded that the provisions can be implemented, even if some gaps need to be filled and also the behaviour of farmers needs to be improved. Moreover, it was observed that all stages in the use of PPPs on farms could generate risks for the operator and/or the environment. One of the recommendations is to promote training for operators and to adopt good agronomic practices in order to improve sustainable use of PPPs. RESULTS: The findings were used, in the following years, to develop a Guideline for Sustainable Use of PPPs to help the user in identifying the flaws in current practices at farm level as well as their corresponding corrective actions. The Guidelines are accompanied by free online software to be used as a diagnostic tool as well as to provide recommendations for improvements. CONCLUSION: The approach adopted, taking into account the variability in farm structure, cropping pattern, risk attitude and economic availability, is not an instrument to identify the most suitable protection strategy for a given crop in a given period, but to help professional users to improve their practices in managing PPPs on farms and to make the most appropriate choices leading to reduced environmental and human risk, without compromising the profitability of agricultural production and food standards. This work has, as an underlying principle, a holistic approach to link the different elements of the three pillars of sustainability (environment, economy and society) and to enhance knowledge, which represents one of the main aspects of the Directive. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry.

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