Foto del docente

Claudio Marzadori

Full Professor

Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences

Academic discipline: AGR/13 Agricultural Chemistry

Curriculum vitae

Name                          CLAUDIO

Surname                      MARZADORI

Date of birth                19 October 1962

Place of birth               Bologna

Home address             Via Sant'Anna 17, 40128 Bologna, Italy. Tel.  +39-051-702911

Office address             Viale Fanin 40, 40127 Bologna, Italy.  Tel. +39-051-2096211


  Current employment

Full professor at the Department of Agro-Environmental Science and Technology (DiSTA), Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna Faculty of Agriculture (SSD AGR/13).



Agricultural Chemistry

as part of the Three-Year degree course in "Herbal Medicine" at the University of Bologna Faculty of Pharmacy, Imola campus.


Biochemistry of abiotic stresses and Biochemistry of secondary metabolites

as part of the Second Level degree course in "Agricultural Plant Biotecnologies" at the University of Bologna Faculty of Agriculture.


Agricultural Chemistry and Biochemistry

as part of the Second Level degree course in "Agro-industrial Systems Sciences" at the University of Bologna Faculty of Agriculture.


Biochemistry of Secondary Metabolites

as part of the Second Level specialisation course ("magistrale") in Agricultural Sciences and Technologies at the University of Bologna Faculty of Agriculture.


Research themes

After an initial period lasting about a year during which he studied interactions between boron and organic substance in the soil, his research has concentrated largely on the following themes.



He has studied the availability to plants of the nitrogen present in the soil in the nitrogen reserve or coming from fertiliser or soil conditioners.

The objective of research on the ammonia nitrogen reserve interstratified in the clays was to: 1) improve analytical techniques for its determination and 2) establish its dynamics as a function of root absorption, microbial activity in the soil, nitrogen fertilisation and soil working techniques.

The studies involved the processes by which the various forms of nitrogen contained in natural slow release and synthetic nitrogen fertilisers and biomass of agroindustrial, industrial and civil origin are transformed in the soil.  In particular, isotopic techniques (N15) are used to examine the dynamics of nitrogen release in mineral form from organic fertilisers and biomass of various origins.  Studies on the release of nutrients from slow release or stabilised fertilisers into the soil also include phosphorous with particular attention to the mechanisms influencing its bioavailability when administered together with humic substances.


Use and recycling of biomass

He carries out research into the use and recycling of biomass of various origins with the aim of establishing the effect of these materials on the principal biological properties of the soil.  In particular, he employs specific soil quality indicators to try and establish a relationship between the distribution of organic matrices and:  1) the activity of the microbial biomass in the soil, 2) the activity of the enzymes in the soil, 3) the dynamics of the C and N cycles.  These aspects are of fundamental importance to optimise the use of biomass as fertiliser.  The scope of these research projects is to: a) encourage closure of the nutrient cycles in the soil and b) improve the sustainability of agricultural products by reducing the use of industrially produced mineral fertilisers obtained using non-renewable energy sources.



The research examines use of urease and nitrification inhibitors, phenomena associated with the mechanisms of enzyme immobilisation and stabilisation in the soil and the influence of heavy metals and humic substances on extracellular enzyme activity.

The use of urease and nitrification inhibitors is one of the solutions proposed to increase the efficiency of nitrogen fertilisers by reducing the loss of nitrogen from the soil system.  The research involved setting up field trials and laboratory experiments to assess the impact of the inhibitors on plant production and the loss of nitrogen from the soil.  The techniques used for this purpose included the use of the stable isotope 15N.

Studies on the functional characteristics of the urease accumulated in the soil have less practical application than the previous activities, but are without doubt relevant to both agricultural and environmental issues.  The research concentrates on study of systems consisting of urease and components of the soil.  The main systems studied are: 1) root urease-mucigel (Ca-polygalacturonate), 2) urease-hydroxyapatite (the most stable form of inorganic phosphorous in the soil), 3) urease-humic acids (the most stable form of organic carbon present in the soil), 4) urease-hydroxyapatite-humic acids. The experiments necessitated the development of techniques to form the compounds in question and to purify urease of microbial origin and development of suitable potentiometric assay techniques for the urease. His research also covered the enzyme phosphatase and certain aspects of the interaction between enzymes in the soil and metals.


Rhizosphere (soil/root interface)

The bioavailability of nutrient or toxic elements is heavily influenced by the interaction at rhizosphere level between roots and soil.  Further studies into the dynamics of nutrient and toxic elements in the rhizosphere and in particular at the soil/root interface are therefore necessary.

An interface model consisting of calcium polygalacturonate gel (calcium pectate) was employed to study processes associated with the mobilisation/immobilisation and flow of certain elements above and through the gel.  In particular, studies were carried out:

a)       to establish the effect of the accumulation of aluminium, a well known toxic agent, on the fibrillar structure of the soil/root interface and the flow of phosphate through it.

b)       the effect of the degree of methyl-esterification of pectic substances on their capacity to immobilise toxic metals (Al and Cd) in the presence or absence of chelating agents of root origin;

c)       recently, on the influence of chelating agents of protein-amino acid origin on the mobility of Cr at the soil/root interface.


Research involving in vivo experiments is underway to assess the effect of specific farming practices, such as the distribution of new concept fertilisers containing inhibitors and/or biostimulants, on the secretory activity of roots (organic acids and nitrogen compounds) associated with the mobilisation of nutrients with poor availability (e.g. P and Fe).  The studies involve application of particular techniques for sampling the rhizospheric soil and development of specific analytical methods.


Nutrients and river sediments

In collaboration with the Department of Experimental Evolutionary Biology, University of Bologna, he has been involved in research into the role played by river sediments on the bioavailability of phosphate and nitrogen in eutrophication phenomena.


Organic C in the soil

As part of activities in his own department, he has taken part in numerous projects studying the transformation of organic C in the soil, with particular attention to humic C.  A number of these activities were preliminary to obtaining the humic substances used to study interaction with the enzyme urease.


Scientific responsibilities

In 1999 he was project leader of a research project financed by the University of Bologna entitled "Progetto Giovani Ricercatori" ("Young Researchers Project").


He was scientific manager of an operational unit as part of the PRIN 2002 project. The research project was entitled "Trasporto di nutrienti ossianionici all'interfaccia suolo-radice e nell'apoplasto ed influenza di interferenti metallici: un modello di studio" ("Transport of oxyanionic nutrients at the soil-root interface and in the apoplast and the influence of interfering metals: a study model").


He was scientific manager of an operational unit as part of the PRIN 2004 project. The research project was entitled "Ruolo di leganti organici e del mucigel radicale sulla mobilità di elementi nutritivi e non all'interfaccia suolo-radice: un modello di studio" ("The role of organic binders and root mucigel in the mobility of nutrient and other elements at the soil-root interface: a study model").


He was joint scientific manager (2007/2008) of a convention signed between the Department of Agro-Environmental Science and Technology (DiSTA) and SICIT S.p.A. entitled "Valutazione della biodisponibilità del cromo e del tasso di mineralizzazione dell'azoto organico in suoli trattati con prodotti secondari del processo di produzione di idrolizzati proteici" ("Assessment of the bioavailability of chromium and the rate of mineralisation of organic nitrogen in soils treated with by-products from the hydrolysed proteins production process").


He was joint scientific manager (2008/2009) of a convention signed between the Department of Agro-Environmental Science and Technology (DiSTA) and SICIT S.p.A. entitled "Valutazione chimica e biochimica delle trasformazioni dell'azoto organico in suoli trattati con idrolizzati proteici" ("Chemical and biochemical assessment of the transformation of organic nitrogen in soils treated with hydrolysed proteins").


Institutional appointments

He is faculty delegate for the Leonardo Programme.

He is a member of the University of Bologna Faculty of Agriculture commission for internationalisation.


Scientific associations

§         Since 1990, member of S.I.C.A. (Società Italiana di Chimica Agraria, Italian Society of Agricultural Chemistry).

§         Member of I.H.S.S. (International Humic Substances Society).

§         Member of S.I.S.S. and I.U.S.S. respectively the Italian Association of Soil Sciences and the International Union of Soil Sciences.



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