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National Research Council

Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystems

The IBAF headquarters in Porano occupies a total area of about 1000 square meters, of which 270 square meters are occupied by several laboratories and the remaining space by administration, library, conference hall, representation and technical rooms. The laboratories are almost all organized according to the instrumental and analytical needs of researches within the structured contract organization or "commesse" of CNR research network.

The biochemistry and physiology laboratory

Is equipped to carry out the management of agro-forestry systems for the production of biomass, the study of environmental factors that influence the physiological and molecular assimilate partitioning and the quantity and quality of bio-production, the biochemistry of synthesis system and the degradation of ligno-cellulosic material components, with particular reference to the metabolism of carbohydrates and organic acids.

The laboratory includes standard instrumentation for biochemical analysis such as:

  • HPLC chromatograph;
  • system for protein electrophoresis (two-dimensional electrophoresis) and nucleic acids;
  • analytical system for ion chromatography, particularly suitable for the analysis of carbohydrates and organic acids.

The genetics laboratory
Is equipped for studies on biodiversity and adaptive responses of agro-forestry system in relation to major evolutionary factors and anthropogenic impacts. Specifically with:

  • a large device such as the ABI PRISM 3130 to 16 capillaries with softwares GENE MAPPER SEQ v.5.0 and v.6.0 for the analysis of DNA sequences and fragments;
  • thermal cycler GeneAmp PCR System 2700 (Applied Biosystems) for amplification of DNA,
  • electrophoresis (Sigma Aldrich);
  • UV transilluminator TFX-35.M and photo system Gellydoc (Euroclone) for visualization of DNA on agarose gel and acrylamide;
  • Type Mixer Mill MM300 (Reutsch) and centrifuge (Sigma 4-15 C, Qiagen) for DNA extraction

The laboratory for the study of gaseous interactions
Between the biosphere and atmosphere is equipped to analyse:

  • photosynthetic gas exchanges from leaf- scale, using instrumentation assembled in the laboratory, to vegetation cover-scale, using eddy covariance technique;
  • biogenic emissions in natural plant growth conditions and in combustion conditions in real-time using gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry to proton transfer reaction (PTR -MS);
  • CO and CO2 emissions during combustion;
  • emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC)  trapped into Tenax;
  • particulate organic matter;
  • trap desorption sample by gas chromatography - mass spectrometry (GC- MS).

The Laboratory of Ecophysiology
Includes the special instrumentation for studying stable isotopes. Specifically:

  • mass spectrometer for analysis of C, O, N, and H isotopes;
  • PTR -Massa;
  • gas exchange and fluorescence system for laboratory and field studies; pressure bomb to measure leaf water potential;
  • HPLC (Perkin Elmer );
  • Dual-wavelength spectrophotometer;
  • Micrometeorological hut;

Other available equipment and support structures are:

  • GIS platform;
  • growth chambers and controlled greenhouse environment;
  • network of field trials with collections of C. sativa, Juglans spp., Robinia pseudoacacia;
  • cold room (+4 °C) , freezer at -80 °C and -20 °C.

Through a research agreement with the Department of Biological and Ecological Sciences (DEB ) of the University of Tuscia (Viterbo), the IBAF staff has access to the instrumentation of the DEB Center for Biophysics and Nanoscience and in particular to the:

  • micro-spectroscopy of Raman SuperLabram Jobin Yvon with a resolution of 5 cm-1, equipped with liquid nitrogen cooled CCD and laser source from 514 nm;
  • scanning tunneling microscope PicoLE5100 Agilent with a sensitivity of 1 nA / V and lateral resolution of better than 0.1 nm;
  • scanning atomic force microscope in tapping mode that operates both in contact mode , both in air and in physiological conditions , with a lateral resolution of better than 0.1 nm and vertical resolution better than 0.01 nm.

The objective of this research agreement  is to develop innovative methods for the characterization of plant material and for the detection of pollutants at low concentration with nanoscopy and nano- spectroscopy techniques.