PhD student profile, Chiara Mapelli

PhD Student:  Chiara Mapelli



Tutor: Manuela Rollini – DeFENS

Dean: Francesco Bonomi

Research area: Food Science


Research topic

Cellulose nanoparticles (nanocrystals and nanofibrils) in food systems: novel food packaging materials; bioactive functionalized components; releasing systems; bioprocesses for by-products valorization; biorefinery high value added products.


Project Synopsis

Project title: Nanocellulose – sakacin A conjugates for food packaging purposes (NanoSak).

This PhD project aims at exploring the use of cheese whey and/or their derivatives as cheap substrates for growth of bacterial species that produce two families of molecules, a specific bacteriocin sakacin A, and bacterial cellulose, that will be turned into nanocellulose using sustainable procedures. The focus of this project is to optimize sakacin A production and its food-grade isolation. On a subsequent step this bacteriocin will be incorporated in BNC films and coatings. The in vitro antimicrobial activity of these films will be evaluated, and the efficacy of the developed active packaging solutions will also be validated on real food, i.e. chicken meat and fresh dairy products. The results will contribute to increase shelf life and quality of perishable food.


Project keywords

bioactive packaging, sakacin A, nanoparticles, agri-food residues



Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS)

Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences

Università degli Studi di Milano

Via Celoria 2, 20133 Milano (Italy)



Alberto Barbiroli – UNIMI/DeFENS (Milano, Italy)

Diego Romano – UNIMI/DeFENS

Concetta Compagno – UNIMI/DeFENS

Stefano Farris – UNIMI/DeFENS

Stefania Iametti – UNIMI/DeFENS

Luisa Pellegrino – UNIMI/DeFENS

Daniele Cavicchioli – UNIMI/DEMM

Roberto Pretolani – UNIMI/DEMM

Danilo Bertoni – UNIMI/DEMM

Giorgio Capretti – INNOVHUB (Milan, Italy)

Rafael Gavara – CSIC IATA (Valencia, Spain)

Pilar Hernandez Munoz – CSIC IATA (Valencia, Spain)



Fellowship sponsor: Università degli Studi di Milano

Project sponsor: Fondazione CARIPLO




Musatti A., Ficara E., Mapelli C., Sambusiti C., Rollini M. (2017) Use of solid digestate for lignocellulolytic enzymes production through submerged fungal fermentation. Journal of Environmental Management, 199: 1-6. (DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.05.022)

Musatti A., Mapelli C., Foschino R., Picozzi C., Rollini M. (2016) Unconventional bacterial association for dough leavening. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 237:28-34. (DOI: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2016.08.011).

2nd Innovation in Food Packaging, Shelf Life and Food Safety Conference, Munich (Germany), October 3rd-6th 2017. Poster session: Mapelli C., Musatti A., Barbiroli A, Heras Mozos R., Saini S., Bras J. and Rollini M. Nanocellulose-sakacin A: conjugates for food packaging purposes.

XXII Workshop on the Developments in the Italian PhD research on Food Science Technology and Biotechnology, Bolzano (Italy), September 20th-22nd, 2017. Poster session: Nanocellulose-sakacin A: conjugates for food packaging purposes.

42nd FEBS Congress, Jerusalem (Israel), September 10th-14th, 2017. Poster session: Barbiroli A., Mapelli C., Serra I., de Benedetti S., Musatti A., Compagno C. and Rollini M. Anti-listeria bacteriocin sakacin-a: biotechnological and biochemical approaches for high-yield food-grade production.

FoodInnova 2017 International Conference on Food Innovation, Cesena (Italy), January 31st-February 3rd, 2017. Oral presentation: Mapelli C., Musatti A., Picozzi C. and Rollini M. Innovative use of Zymomonas mobilis in bread-making.

XXI Workshop on the Developments in the Italian PhD research on Food Science Technology and Biotechnology, Portici (Italy), September 14th-16th, 2016. Poster session: Nanocellulose-sakacin A: conjugates for food packaging purposes.

VI Sourdough symposium, Understanding natural complexity, Nantes (France), September 30th – October 2nd, 2015. Poster session: Musatti A, Picozzi C, Foschino R, Mapelli C, Rollini M. Unconventional bacterial association for sourdough: Zymomonas mobilis and Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis.



Partecipation course on: Microbiologia predittiva: dalla modellazione matematica ai software di previsione del comportamento dei microrganismi, Milano, Novembrer 22nd-23rd,  2017.

Erasmus Traineeship: LGP2 Laboratoire Génie des Procédés Papetiers, Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble (INP), Grenoble, France, March-June, 2017.

Participation ESSIB 2016: 3rd European Summer School on Industrial Biotechnology. Bioprocess design and optimization for the production of recombinant protein – Concepts, tools, methods and current challenges. Barcelona (Spain), September 5th-9th, 2016.


Main Project Scheme:



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