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The life scientific disciplines present chances for developing human public assistance activities. Enhanced by inputs from genomic research, biotechnology is a cardinal driver for development in all states. This study aims at placing the chances for biotechnology in Italy. It introduces Italy as a state, the current state of affairs of biotechnology in Italy and the sectors. In this study besides, I have identified a few chances for biotechnology in Italy in countries of medical specialty ( root cell therapy, pharmacogenomics ) , industrial biotechnology ( all right chemicals, olive oil waste and municipal waste direction ) and other countries such as marine biotechnology and biomining.

1 Introduction

Italy: Location and Economic overview

1.1 Location:

Italy is strategically located, with the North good placed for entry into the nucleus of the European Union, whereas the Center and South can bit by bit be regarded as gateways to the assuring Balkan economic system and besides to Northern Africa.

Figure 1. Map Showing Italy ‘s location in the EU.

1.2 Italy ‘s economic overview.

The industrial economic system in Italy is extremely diversified, divided in to a well-developed industrial North and less-developed agricultural South. Italy ‘s economic system is extremely motivated by high-quality consumer goods produced by little and moderate-sized ventures.

Haven qualified for rank if the Euro group, certain economic reforms have taken topographic point including denationalization of ventures antecedently run by the province. These have resulted in low rising prices and involvement rates. Exports compensation has besides resulted from the fight of the Euro.

2. Biotechnology IN ITALY

2.1 Current state of affairs

Not defying a late reaching in the biotechnology development, Italy has a strong international competitory point of view. Italian biotech companies have tripled in figure since 2001, going more productive and unfastened to the planetary market ( Assobiotec, 2009 ) .

Since 2005 five Italian biotech companies have been listed on taking stock exchanges. In 2009, entire gross revenues sum to over a‚¬5.6 billion ( an 18 % year-on-year addition ) , of which 5.3 generated from the sale of advanced merchandises and engineerings ( Assobiotec, 2009 ) .

2.2 Geographic distribution

The Italian biotech industry is extremely condensed in a a little figure of locations. Although biotech companies are established in 17 Italian Regions, merely few countries account for important economic Numberss.

Lombardy ( 36 % of the entire companies ) , Piedmont ( 12 % ) , Tuscany ( 9 % ) , Veneto ( 8 % ) , Sardinia ( 7 % ) and Latium ( 6 % ) . This division is linked to the being of miscellaneous skilled participants on these districts such as: Italian pharmaceutical companies and foreign transnational subordinates, scientific spouses ( research and clinical centres ) , finance and professionals ( legal, patent and engineering transportation offices and confer withing companies ) and scientific Parks, where 24 % of the companies are located ( Ernst and immature, 2010 ) .

2.3 Sectors

There are three major types of biotechnology ; Red, Green and White biotechnology. The Italian biotechnology is driven by the ruddy biotech ( human wellness ) . Harmonizing to the study, “ Biotechnology in Italy ” by Ernst and Young 2010, 197 ( 61 % ) companies out of the 319 biotechnology companies reported, focused on this field. Green biotechnology ( agricultural biotechnology ) made up 13 % while the white biotechnology ( industrial biotechnology ) had 7 % as shown in figure 2 below.

Figure 2 Biotechnology sectors in Italy. Beginning: Ernst and Young, 2010

2.3.1 Red Biotechnology:

This sector includes: Therapeuticss, Drug bringing, Tissue technology, and Molecular nosologies. Its besides includes engineerings and services for drug find. This sector is surely the most important with respects to turnover, employees and R & A ; D investings. 56 % of the ruddy biotech companies belong to the pure biotech class whereas the staying 44 % is made up of foreign transnational subordinates, Italian pharmaceutical companies and other type of companies ( CRO, pool companies, etc. ) ( Ernst and Young, 2010 ) .

Table 1 Red biotech informations ( “ red dedicated ” and “ more nucleus ” informations companies )

Entire biotech turnover

a‚¬ 6.3 billion

Entire R & A ; D employees


Entire R & A ; D investings

a‚¬ 1.19 billion

Beginning: Ernst and Young Report on Biotechnologies in Italy – 2010

Figure 3 Biotechnology sectors in Italy. Beginning: Ernst and Young, 2010

2.3.2 Green Biotechnology:

The green biotech involves the application of modern biotech processes for the devising of transgenic workss for application in the nutrient, stuff, chemical or fuel sector. It can besides be applied in molecular pharming ( production of drugs in workss ) and in proving for nutrient components and being of contaminations.

In Italy, 55 companies operate in the field of green biotech. 42 out of the 55 are wholly dedicated to green biotech while the remainder besides operate in other Fieldss.

Several biotech harvests have been approved for cultivation and ingestion by the EU committee. On the other manus, Italy ‘s Ministry of Agriculture remains devotedly opposed to agricultural biotechnology and has maintained a prohibition on cultivating biotech harvests. This appears to be a major set back for the agribusiness industry in Italy ( Ernst and Young, 2010 ) .

2.3.3 White Biotechnology:

The industrial white biotech refers to the usage of modern biotech methods for the processing and production of chemicals, stuffs and fuels, including “ bioremediation ” engineerings for the environmental protection ( Ernst and Young, 2010 ) . Italy has 26 companies in the field of industrial biotech ; 21 of which are wholly dedicated to white biotechnology, while 5 besides operate in other biotech Fieldss. Most current developments are associated with bioremediation.

2.3.4 R & A ; D and Nanotechnology

The research system in Italy is of high criterions in different Fieldss, which can postulate with other international research centres. On the other manus the system as a whole is non every bit perceptive as it could be, due to structural, political and cultural grounds.

Furthermore, from a cultural position, the nanobiotechnological field research workers initiate important challenges as a consequence of their great cultural disparity and multidisciplinarity. As a consequence of this, Italy is making a new coevals of research workers who will be able to work the chances offered by this multidisciplinarity. Italy is making this with the nano-medicine PhD plan, organized by the new European Center of Nanomedicine ( CEN ) , late promoted and financed by the Lombardy Region.

3. Opportunities for biotechnology in Italy

The chances for biotechnology identified in this study cover the countries of medical and pharmaceutical biotechnology, industrial biotechnology, agribusiness, marine biotechnology and nanobiotechnology.

3.1 Medical and pharmaceutical biotechnology.

The Italian biotech industry is driven by the medical sector, but non with standing there are still chances in countries of pharmacogenomics, pharmaceutical merchandises, familial testing, cistron and root cell therapy.

Pharmacogenomics involves the survey of an person ‘s familial makeup and how they affect/influence the person ‘s response to drugs: including temperament, safety and permissibility, and effectiveness. It is aimed at the ability to bring forth drug that adapt to each individual ‘s familial make-up. This is still a new field and offers a great potency in intervention of familial upsets like Alzheimer ‘s disease, malignant neoplastic diseases and diabetes.

The benefits of pharmacogenomics include ; development of bespoke medical specialties, more accurate methods of finding appropriate drug doses and metamorphosis, and betterments of the drug find and blessing procedure.

Table 2. Benefits of pharmacogenomics

Development of bespoke medical specialties.

Using pharmacogenomics, pharmaceutical companies can make drugs based on the proteins, enzymes andA RNAA molecules that are associated with specific cistrons and diseases. This besides promise to diminish injury to nearby healthy cells.

Accurate finding of drug doses.

Knowing a patient ‘s genetic sciences will enable physicians to find how good his/ her organic structure can treat and metabolise a medical specialty. This will maximise the value of the medical specialty and diminish the likeliness of overdose.

Easier find of possible therapies utilizing genome marks.

Genes have been associated with legion diseases and upsets. With modern biotechnology, these cistrons can be used as marks for the development of effectual new therapies, which could significantly shorten the drug find procedure.

Better vaccinums.

Safer vaccinums can be designed and produced by beings transformed by agencies of familial technology. These vaccinums will arouse the immune response without the attendant hazards of infection. They will be cheap, stable, easy to hive away, and capable of being engineered to transport several strains of pathogen at one time.

Despite the strong curative grapevine of the Italian biotech, there are still chances to farther develop pharmaceutical merchandises, such as comestible vaccinums.

Stem cell therapy has been an issue of argument in Italy, based on spiritual grounds, sing the beginning of the cells used. However, the Vatican has presently decided to patronize the usage of grownup root cells for the intervention of enteric disease. This involves a US $ 2.7m contribution to the International Intestinal Stem Cell Consortium, which serves as a joint platform for research workers from for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Maryland, the University of Salerno, the Bambino Gesu Childrens ‘ Hospital in Rome and the Istituto Superiore di Sanita ( EBSIN, 2010 ) .

Opportunities for biotechnology in Italy, in countries of root cell and GM harvests, are minimum. This is as a consequence of political, cultural and spiritual beliefs. The production of GM harvests is presently banned by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture restricting the chances for biotechnology in agribusiness.

3.2 Nanobiotechnology

Nanobiotechnology is another promising field of biotechnology, with possible applications in Fieldss such as: nutrient agriculture, environment, cosmetics and medical specialty. Italy ‘s strong research force, with the presence of research Parkss coupled with authorities financess and European Technology Platform on Nanomedicine ( ETPN ) , offers a great chance for developments in nanobiotechnology.

3.3 Industrial `biotechnology

Recent issues, such as oil monetary values and turning concerns about environmental pollution and planetary heating, are turning intensifying attending to industrial biotechnology, with respects to possible benefits associating energy and environment. The handiness of advanced modern biotechnology tools, such as high throughput showing, metabolic technology, metagenomics and man-made biological science, combined with genome sequence information for a turning figure of beings, are back uping development of better or new applications of industrial biotechnology ( Zika et al, 2007 ) . The chief marks of research activities are designation of new biocatalysts or micro-organisms for production procedures and optimisation of enzymes and production strains for certain undertakings, including development of new biocatalytic tracts in micro-organisms ( Zika et al, 2007 ) .

All right chemicals are the largest section within Italy ‘s industrial biotech sector, with chemical production making a‚¬55 billion in 2006 with exports deserving a‚¬21 billion ( Barmore, 2010 ) . One of the cardinal Fieldss for biocatalysis is in production of all right chemicals, including pharmaceutical compounds. The high selectivity of enzymes aids production of these compounds, which is otherwise hard to accomplish due to the extremely complex functional groups within the molecule ( Pollard and Woodley, 2007 ) . There is an chance for metabolic tract technology for production non merely of different complex compounds ( e.g. alklaloide ) but besides of compounds that would otherwise be unaccessible because the beings can non be cultured ( e.g. the cytotoxic substance patellamide ) ( Zika et al, 2007 ) . There is besides an chance in biotechnological production of little molecule drug precursors.

Hot Enzymes from extremophilic micro-organisms ( extremozymes ) are anticipated to play an of import function in industrial biotechnology due to their exceeding stableness at high or low temperatures, high force per unit area, high salt concentrations ( Shah and Gupta, 2007 ) . Italy has a figure of hot geothermic topographic point, and these can function as beginnings for isolation of these extremophilic micro-organisms.

Presently more than 35 000 enzyme reactions are known ( Straathof, 2002 ) . Adding the huge figure of micro-organisms that can non be isolated with current culturing techniques, it is estimated that merely 1 % of bacteriums can be cultured ( Tringe and Rubin, 2005 ) . These are likely beginnings of as yet unknown enzymes, herewith supplying a potentially big pool of enzymes for industrial intents. Access to ‘unculturable ‘ micro-organisms can be opened up by metagenomics. Italy has a 7600 kilometer coastline ( CIA universe factbook, 2010 ) . This offers an chance for marine biotechnology, making a platform for isolation of more utile enzymes for different applications, particularly in medical specialty and nutrient processing.

3.3.1 Olives ( Cultivation and Waste direction )

Statisticss shows that Italy is the 2nd highest manufacturer of olive oil in the universe, with about 603,000 dozenss in 2007 ( Chandra, M. and Sathiavelu, S. 2009 ) as shown in tabular arraies 3 and 4 and figure 4 below. Italy is besides the highest consumer of olive ( figure 5 ) . This suggests a high production of olive waste.

Different types of olive oil production can be linked with several environmental injuries like dirt eroding, exhaustion of H2O resources and pollution through overexploitation of agrochemicals ( EC, DGA ) . Biotechnology can be applied in the cultivation of these olive trees, by genetically modifying them to give more and be pest opposition. This reduces the dependence on agrochemicals.

Table 3. Worldwide statistics of Olive oil production

Worldwide olive oil production

460 million gallons

Worldwide olive oil ingestion

486 million gallons

Average one-year universe olive oil ingestion over the last 30 old ages

1,465,000 metric dozenss

Spain ‘s portion

30 % – 190 million trees

Italy ‘s portion

24 %

Largest manufacturers worldwide

Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Tunisia, Turkey, Syria

Beginning: Chandra, M. and Sathiavelu, S. 2009.

Table 4. Tendency of Olive oil production from the old ages 2000 to 2007 ( in 1000 metric tons )



2001 -2002






























Portuguese republic
























Beginning: Chandra, M. and Sathiavelu, S. 2009.

Figure 4 Main olive oil bring forthing states.

Beginning: Chandra, M. and Sathiavelu, S. 2009

Figure 5. World olive oil devouring states.

Beginning: Chandra, M. and Sathiavelu, S. 2009

However, there are major issues associated with olive oil waste disposal. These include H2O and environmental pollutions ; odorous emanations. As a effect of H2O pollution control statute law in Italy, olive factory effluents have to undergo intervention before released into the environment ( Azbar et al, 2004 )

In position of the high cost of intervention workss and sing the possible socio-economic problems that may get down off from olive oil pollution, there is a demand to efficaciously and economically pull off olive oil waste.

Because of the high organic content of olive oil factory effluents, anaerobiotic intervention processes with biogas production can be considered, utilizing anaerobiotic beings. Anaerobic intervention has a figure of advantages, such as low sludge coevals, methane gas production, less energy demand for operation, and easy restart after several months of shutdown before seasonal production ( Azbar et al, 2004 ) .

Recently, there have been several efforts for anaerobiotic digestion of olive factory effluent after physical, chemical, and biological pretreatments or after dilution and chemical accommodation ( pH rectification and alimentary add-on ) ( Azbar et al, 2004 ) .

Several compounds antibacterial agents in olive fruit appear significantly in olive oil effluent. Although these compounds are discarded as wastes, they can be extracted biotechnologically and used as natural stuff in the industry. A study by Mulinacci et al 2001, illustrates the presence of 1500-4000 milligrams La?’1 polyphenols in the effluents from olive oil Millss in Italy. These can be used for antioxidants production.

Olive oil Millss generate gas emanations ensuing in important olfactory property ailments. Uncovered storage lagunas and olive bars with high wet content are beginnings of olfactory property nuisance, particularly during warm and dry summer season. These smells result from the presence of volatile organic acids and other low-boiling organic substances. This can be reduced, by utilizing biofilters in the procedures.

3.3.2 Municipal waste direction

Another issue in Italy is municipal waste direction ( CIA universe factbook, 2010 ) . Biotechnology has a great chance in this country, in remotion of organic solid. Treatment of waste with bacteriums ( aerophilic or anaerobiotic ) prior to let go of interruptions down extra foods into N gas and C dioxide and hint elements, which can be captured and used in other applications.

However, biotechnology can besides be applied in this country to production of biofuels.

3.3.3 Biominig

Italy ‘s natural resources include ; coal, quicksilver, Zn, potassium hydroxide, marble, barite, asbestos, pumice, fluorite, felspar, sulphide minerals, natural gas and rough oil militias.

This offers chances for biominig utilizing beings such as thermophilicA sulfide-oxidizing archaea to pull out metals from sulphide minerals.


Olive oil waste disposal is a serious issue, non merely in Italy but besides for the full olive oil manufacturers. There is great possible for application of biotechnology in minimising these issues. Besides, sing the available natural resources of Italy and the steady growing of the research force, Italy has chances for biotechnology beyond the few identified in this study. Much more chances may originate from metagenomics and nanobiotechnology.

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