Alessandra and Riccardo: our ILSA internship experience.

“When research is well done, a minimum concentration of ingredients is enough to have a significantly positive effect on crops!”


We asked Alessandra Sonda and Riccardo Gilioli, students of industrial biotechnology in Padua who are pursuing their master's thesis in Ilsa, their views on the internship and our organisation at large. They declared themselves satisfied. We are happy about it because fresh and external eyes are sometimes able to perceive critical aspects that may not be easy to detect from the inside.

For many months, Alessandra and Riccardo have worked in our CRA Company Research Centre and with the climatic chambers. They were engaged in a project for the enhancement of agricultural biomass, agri-food chain by-products, through the biocatalysis process.*

Their tips for improvement, such as those of a better alignment with the research work done in the past, have been welcomed with gratitude and a willingness to make things better.

Both were happy with the work environment, and the availability of the people in charge of assisting them, particularly Ilaria Tabarelli responsible for Education, and Stefania Lupinelli, who is in charge of special projects in the R&D area.

We also like to see that we managed to amaze them from a technical point of view! Their theses concern the reuse of biomass, by-products of the agricultural sector, to obtain highly efficient fertilizers and they have seen that when research is well done, a minimum concentration of ingredients is enough to have a significantly positive effect on crops. This is a concept that we have always reaffirmed, even in our Sustainability Manifesto where the first point states: "Give less to get more" because the products must be efficient, promoters of sustainable and precision agriculture.

However, there were some complicated moments as well, such as when the inherent variability of every single plant made it challenging to interpret the results. Satisfaction on the part of Alessandra for the concreteness of the research project and, on the part of Riccardo, a great fascination with the fact of being able to create an interesting product starting from a waste.

Both aspire to a pleasant and rewarding work environment for their future, they love laboratory life. Riccardo in particular wants to continue to be involved in projects for the valorisation of biomass and on the subject of bioenergy.

Good luck for your future! It was a pleasure having you here.

* The internship had the objective of using industrial biotechnology for the development of production processes, capable of enhancing by-products of the agri-food sector in a circular supply chain, for the production of highly sustainable and effective fertilizers, aimed to improve precision agriculture. Specifically, the research project entails the optimisation and development of enzymatic hydrolysis as a controlled, reproducible biotechnological process that uses enzymes to break predefined chemical bonds of polymeric molecules present in plant by-products in a specific and constant way over time and transform them into fertilizing products