2005: Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Trieste, Italy
1999: Master's Degree in Chemistry at the University of Trieste, Italy
Biol Lett., 16, 20200093, (2020)
Plastics everywhere: first evidence of polystyrene fragments inside the common Antarctic collembolan Cryptopygus antarcticus
There is evidence and serious concern that microplastics have reached the most remote regions of the planet, but how far have they travelled in terrestrial ecosystems? This study presents the first field-based evidence of plastic ingestion by a common and central component of Antarctic terrestrial food webs, the collembolan Cryptopygus antarcticus. A large piece of polystyrene (PS) foam (34 × 31 × 5 cm) covered by microalgae, moss, lichens and microfauna was found in a fellfield along the shores of the Fildes Peninsula (King George Island). The application of an improved enzymatic digestion coupled with Fourier transform infrared microscopy (µ-FTIR), unequivocally detected traces of PS (less than 100 µm) in the gut of the collembolans associated with the PS foam and documented their ability to ingest plastic. Plastics are thus entering the short Antarctic terrestrial food webs and represent a new potential stressor to polar ecosystems already facing climate change and increasing human activities. Future research should explore the effects of plastics on the composition, structure and functions of polar terrestrial biota.
Nat. Ecol. Evol., 3, 1409–1414, (2019)
The earliest evidence for mechanically delivered projectile weapons in Europe
Microscopic analysis of backed lithic pieces from the Uluzzian technocomplex (45–40 thousand yr ago) at Grotta del Cavallo (southern Italy) reveals their use as mechanically delivered projectile weapons, attributed to anatomically modern humans. Use-wear and residue analyses indicate that the lithics were hunting armatures hafted with complex adhesives, while experimental and ethnographic comparisons support their use as projectiles. The use of projectiles conferred a hunting strategy with a higher impact energy and a potential subsistence advantage over other populations and species.
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 141, 2348–2355, (2019)
Enhanced Activity of Enzymes Encapsulated in Hydrophilic Metal–Organic Frameworks
Encapsulation of biomacromolecules in metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) can preserve biological functionality in harsh environments. Despite the success of this approach, termed biomimietic mineralization, limited consideration has been given to the chemistry of the MOF coating. Here, we show that enzymes encapsulated within hydrophilic MAF-7 or ZIF-90 retain enzymatic activity upon encapsulation and when exposed to high temperatures, denaturing or proteolytic agents, and organic solvents, whereas hydrophobic ZIF-8 affords inactive catalase and negligible protection to urease.