PhD student profile, Elisa Ghitti

PhD Student: Elisa Ghitti (ORCID n. 0000-0002-3924-8869)

Elisa Ghitti (cycle 36)


Supervisor: Prof. Sara Borin, DeFENS

Dean: Prof. Diego Mora

Research area: Agri-Environment

Research topic: “Environmental probiotics”: exploitation of the beneficial interaction among microorganisms and the environment or the plant


Project Synopsis: My PhD project aims to investigate beneficial interactions between plants and microbes in the perspective of a rhizoremediation strategy for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) contaminated soils. Rhizoremediation exploits the ability of both plants, naturally growing on the polluted site, and their root-associated microbes to transform and degrade toxic chemicals. Some root-associated bacterial strains can be biostimulated in their degradative ability by specific root exudates, leading to an enhanced effectiveness of rhizoremediation interventions. The main aim of my project is, therefore, to monitor spatially and temporally the dynamics of activation of the bacterial PCB degradation pathway in response to specific root exudates, through the development of novel bacterial biosensors.


Project keywords: environmental microbiology, biosensor, rhizoremediation, PCB


Contacts: Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS)

Università degli Studi di Milano

via Mangiagalli 25 (Milano), 3rd floor




Fellowship sponsor: Università degli Studi di Milano



Eleonora Rolli, Lorenzo Vergani, Elisa Ghitti, Giovanni Patania, Francesca Mapelli and Sara Borin (2021). ‘Cry-for-help’ in contaminated soil: a dialogue among plants and soil microbiome to survive in hostile conditions. Environmental Microbiology 23(10), 5690–5703.


Elisa Ghitti, Eleonora Rolli, Lorenzo Vergani, Sara Borin. Influence of Plant Secondary Metabolites on Functional Traits of the Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB)-Degrading Strain Paraburkholderia xenovorans LB400. Harnessing the Plant Microbiome Virtual Conference (University of California, Davis, USA), October 2021.

Elisa Ghitti. Exploiting beneficial interactions between plants and bacteria: PCB biodegradation by soil microbiota upon stimulation by root exudates. First Virtual (XXV) workshop on the developments in the Italian PhD Research on food science, technology and biotechnology (University of Palermo, Italy), September 2021.


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