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The collections of DipSA

Several special collections (microorganisms, insects, fertilizers, humic substances, soils, biostimulants, topographic maps, photos, herbarium, seeds, plants) are available at DipSA for educational and research purposes. Some collections were started by famous researchers and professors who worked in Institutes and Departments, that now make up the DipSA. They represent the continuity from the past to the future of the Department.

The collections are evidence of the history of the Department, as some were started in the second half of the XIX century. Beyond their historical value, the collections also represent an important expression of the scientific activities carried out at DipSA. Within the scientific attempt for classification, updating and improving the accessions collected, a relevant economic effort is also necessary to maintain and preserve the collected material.

Collection of lyophilized microorganisms

The collection of Bifidobacteria represents an unique source of information for microbiologists on physiology, taxonomy, ecology of this important class of microorganisms, for both technological and food applications.

The collection consists of approximately 6,000 strains of the genus Bifidobacterium. It has been founded in the ‘60s by Prof. Vittorio Scardovi. The name of the collection (BUSCoB) is the acronym of Bologna University Scardovi Collection of Bifidobacterium. For each of the 32 species of Bifidobacterium, the type strain and the number of strains isolated from different ecological niches are reported. In the last decade, the studies on bifidobacteria have incremented greatly due to the agro-industrial use of these microorganisms as probiotics. The collection represents an unique source of information on the physiology, taxonomy and ecology of bifidobacteria. Recently, the collection was enriched with approximately 50 plant-probiotic bacterial strains of genus Frankia and Pseudomonas, isolated from the roots of crops and forest trees.

Entomological collection

The collection was started in the second half of the XIX century and comprises a total of 2,500 display cases (several holotypes and exotic specimens), including 1,905 systematic cases divided as follows (number of cases in brackets): Blattodea (4), Coleoptera (461), Dermaptera (26), Diptera (299), Hemiptera (102), Hymenoptera (619), Lepidoptera (292), Mantodea (2), Mecoptera (4), Neuroptera (36), Odonata (15), Orthoptera (40), Phasmodea (2), Trichoptera (3). The Hymenoptera set includes the 110 cases of the precious “Menozzi” collection of ants and the 117 cases of the “Guido Grandi” collection. The entomological collection also includes a total of 294 biological display cases, including 70 cases on the insects of different biotic communities, 10 on myrmecophile insects, 40 showing insect shapes and colours of Hymenoptera. Furthermore there are other display cases containing undetermined specimens at the disposal of researchers and students.

Collection of fertilisers, humic substances, biostimulants and soils

The collection includes: 50 representative Italian pedotypes, 120 types of peats, lignites and leonardites collected in different countries, 100 types of organic fertilisers (i.e. poultry manure, hydrolysed fur, blood powder, sewage sludges, compost), 250 samples of lyophilised humic substances extracted and fractionated from soils amended with different organic fertilizers, 70 samples of biostimulants. For each sample of the collection the physical-chemical properties are available.

In vivo collection of agronomic species

The in vivo collection of herbaceous plants was prepared with the objective to support the didactic activities of the Department. The collection is organized in two sections. The first includes approximately 150 accessions of the main cropped species (cereals, forage, industrial and vegetable crops). The second section includes approximately 200 accessions of no-food crops (mainly officinal species). Each year the accessions are cultivated in small plots (approximately 1 m2) according to the most appropriate cropping techniques with the scope to offer the students a typology of crops as possible similar to the field conditions. However, the aim of the in vivo collection is not merely a didactic purpose. In many cases the plot experimentation permits to evaluate the adaptability of new crops to Italian environment and to maintain the germoplasm of rare genotypes.

The seed collection is composed of about 9,000 accessions and includes seed samples of major and minor crops cultivated in Italy as well as of most weed species of our region. The collection includes seeds of different traditional cultivars for many field and vegetable crops, and it is at the disposal of students as a didactic tool to improve their ability in seed identification.

The collections is formed by I.G.M. maps of Italy (1:100,000, 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 scales), C.T.R. maps of Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia regions (1:25,000, 1:10,000 and 1: 5,000 scales), approximately 12,000 black and white, colored and infrared aerial photographs of Italy and remote sensing images (LANDSAT, SPOT and SOYUZ).