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Contacts:
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Mob: +39 3299740251
Scopus Author ID: 57194336585
ResearcherID: H-2409-2016
Orcid ID: orcid.org/0000-0001-8037-6355
ResearchGate Profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nicola_Di_Fidio2
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicola-di-fidio-08aab9a5/

Supervisors:
Prof. Anna Maria Raspolli Galletti – Università di Pisa
Dr. Giorgio Ragaglini – Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa)

Project partners:
Dr. Isabella De Bari – Agenzia Nazionale per le Nuove Tecnologie, l’Energia e lo Sviluppo Economico Sostenibile (ENEA – Trisaia)
Dr. Ing. Richard Gosselink, Dr Ted Slaghek – Wageningen University & Research

Title of the Ph.D. project:
Innovative process for the conversion of residual biomass into high added-value products combining chemical and bio-conversion

Abstract of the Ph.D. project:
The present research project was focused on investigating innovative, tailored and integrated catalytic strategies for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass and paper mill wastes into added value molecules of industrial interest, such as glucose, xylose, levulinic acid, formic acid, triacylglycerols and fatty acids methyl esters (FAMEs). The main aim of this study was the investigation and the optimization of synergistic combinations of chemical and biological catalytic approaches, in order to develop a sustainable process based on the Green Chemistry principles and characterized by a potential industrial application. In particular, the implemented catalytic strategies aimed to maximize the valorisation of each fraction of the starting biomass, which requires tailored reaction conditions in term of temperature, reaction time, biomass concentration and catalyst amount. This requirement is due to different chemical and physical properties of each structural biopolymer.

Publications:

1. Di Fidio, N., Dragoni, F., Antonetti, C., Raspolli Galletti, A.M., Ragaglini, G. Single cell oil production by Lipomyces starkeyi on various xylose- and glucose-rich hydrolysates of Arundo donax L. obtained by different catalytic approaches. Manuscript under review.

2. Di Fidio, N., Dragoni, F., Antonetti, C., De Bari, I., Raspolli Galletti, A.M., Ragaglini, G. From a paper mill waste to single cell oil: enzymatic hydrolysis to sugars and their fermentation into microbial oil by the yeast Lipomyces starkeyi. Bioresource Technology, 2020, 123790. DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2020.123790

3. Di Fidio, N., Fulignati, S., De Bari, I., Antonetti, C., Raspolli Galletti, A.M. Optimisation of glucose and levulinic acid production from the cellulose fraction of giant reed (Arundo donax L.) performed in the presence of ferric chloride under microwave heating. Bioresource Technology, 2020, 123650. DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2020.123650.

4. Di Fidio, N., Raspolli Galletti, A.M., Fulignati, S., Licursi, D., Liuzzi, F., De Bari, I., Antonetti, C. Multi-Step Exploitation of Raw Arundo donax L. for the Selective Synthesis of Second-Generation Sugars by Chemical and Biological Route. Catalysts, 2020, 10, 79. DOI: 10.3390/catal10010079.

5. Di Fidio, N., Antonetti, C., Raspolli Galletti, A.M. Microwave-assisted cascade exploitation of giant reed (Arundo donax L.) to xylose and levulinic acid catalysed by ferric chloride. Bioresource Technology, 2019, 122050. DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2019.122050.

6. Di Fidio, N., Fulignati, S., Antonetti, C., Raspolli Galletti, A.M. Microwave-assisted hydrolysis of giant reed hemicellulose in the presence of Amberlyst-70 as heterogeneous catalyst. European Biomass Conference and Exhibition Proceedings (27th EUBCE), 2019, pp. 1393-1398.
DOI: 10.5071/27thEUBCE2019-3CV.7.29

7. Di Fidio, N., Liuzzi, F., Mastrolitti, S., Albergo, R., De Bari, I. Single cell oil production from undetoxified Arundo donax L. hydrolysate by Cutaneotrichosporon curvatus - Journal of microbiology and Biotechnology, 2019, 29(2), 256–267. DOI: 10.4014/jmb.1808.09015.

8. Di Fidio, N., Panchetti, S., De Bari, I., Ragaglini, G., Antonetti, C., Raspolli Galletti, A. M. An integrated and versatile biorefinery model to produce lipids from second generation biomass. In Proceedings of the Merck & Elsevier Young Chemists Symposium (MEYCS 2018). Ed. F. Bella, L. Botta, R. Cucciniello, A. D’Urso, P. Franco, E. Lenci, G. Mazzone, M. Schlich, A. Soldà, R. Spezzano, S. Staderini and L. Triggiani, ISBN: 978-88-94952-03-2, page 24, 2018, Rome.

9. De Bari, I., Cuna, D., Di Fidio, N. Biorefineries: Biofuels, Biochemicals And Bioproducts in Biofuels Production and Processing Technology, M.R. Raze, David Chiaramonti (Eds). ISBN 9781498778930 - CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group, 2017. DOI: 10.1201/9781315155067-19

10. De Bari, I., Di Fidio, N., Liuzzi, F., Albergo, R., Mastrolitti, S. Lipids production from lignocellulosic hydrolyzates by the oleaginous yeast Cryptococcus curvatus. European Biomass Conference and Exhibition Proceedings (24thEUBCE), 2016, pp. 1335-1337.
DOI: 10.5071/24thEUBCE2016-3DV.3.89

Grants & Awards:
1. Case study selection award - International conference “Making business with green chemistry & sustainable energy 2019” - Sarteano (Italy)
2. Solvay Group special award - Young Innovators Contest 2018 sponsored by the municipality of Rosignano Marittimo (Italy) - Project title “GREENTECHOIL”.
3. Grant for the participation to the national conference “CIG-2020: catalisi in gioco" - Reggio Calabria (Italy)
4. Grant for the participation to the international conference “Young Energy Researchers Conference - World Sustainable Energy Days 2020” - Wels (Austria)
5. Grant Erasmus+ 2019 for 2-months traineeship at the WFBR, Wageningen (The Netherlands)
6. Grant for 6-months STSM of European COST Action CA17128 – LignoCOST
7. Grant for the participation to the international conference “Making business with green chemistry & sustainable energy 2019” - Sarteano (Italy)
8. Grant for the participation to the international COST action “LignoCOST CA17128 2019” - Wageningen (The Netherlands)
9. Grant for the participation to the international conference “XVI CSCC 2018” - Siena (Italy)
10. Grant for the participation to the workshop “Third generation biorefineries 2017” - Bologna (Italy)

Oral communications at conferences:
1. GreenTechOil project - April 29, 2020, Pisa (Italy) - “Webinar on Circular Economy” - N. Di Fidio.

2. Single Cell Oil: a potential and innovative industrial platform for the production of new generation biodiesel and bioproducts starting from biomass - March 4-6, 2020, Wels (Austria) - “Young Energy Researchers Conference - World Sustainable Energy Days” - N. Di Fidio, I. De Bari, G. Ragaglini, C. Antonetti, A. M. Raspolli Galletti.

3. Single Cell Oil: a potential and innovative industrial platform for the production of new generation biodiesel and bioproducts starting from biomass - July 22-26, 2019, Sarteano (Italy) - “Making business with green chemistry & sustainable energy” - N. Di Fidio, S. Panchetti, I. De Bari, G. Ragaglini, C. Antonetti, A. M. Raspolli Galletti.

4. Development of processes for the complete valorisation of biomass by combining chemical and biological catalysis - March 13-15, 2019, Wageningen (The Netherlands) - “CA17128 LignoCOST network: Establishment of a Pan-European Network on the Sustainable Valorisation of Lignin” - N. Di Fidio, C. Antonetti, A. M. Raspolli Galletti.

5. Synergy between chemical and biological catalysis for new generation oil production according to the biorefinery perspective - February 22, 2019, Milano (Italy) - “Chemists for Biotechnologies” - N. Di Fidio, S. Panchetti, I. De Bari, G. Ragaglini, C. Antonetti, A.M. Raspolli Galletti

6. An integrated and versatile biorefinery model to produce lipids from second generation biomass – Rimini (Italy), 19 – 21 November 2018 – “Merck & Elsevier Young Chemists Symposium (MEYCS 2018)” – N. Di Fidio, S. Panchetti, I. De Bari, G. Ragaglini, C. Antonetti, A. M. Raspolli Galletti.

7. Production of second generation sugars from giant reed and cardoon as potential feedstock for the bioconversion into microbial lipids – Certosa di Pontignano (Siena), 17 – 20 June 2018 – “XVI CSCC 2018” – N. Di Fidio, S. Fulignati, C. Antonetti, A. M. Raspolli Galletti.

Poster communications at conferences:
1. Electro-oxidation of lignin and guaiacol: a cyclic voltammetry study - Regua (Portugal), 13-14 November 2019 - “CA17128 LignoCOST Co-located workshop and 3rd MC meetings” - N. Di Fidio, R. Bisselink, J. Timmermans, A. M. Raspolli Galletti, R. Gosselink, T. Slaghek.

2. Microwave-assisted cascade exploitation of giant reed (Arundo donax L.) towards a lignin-rich residue - Regua (Portugal), 13-14 November 2019 - “CA17128 LignoCOST Co-located workshop and 3rd MC meetings” - C. Antonetti, N. Di Fidio, S. Fulignati, D. Licursi, M. Rollo, A. M. Raspolli Galletti.

3. Single Cell Oil: a potential and innovative industrial platform for the production of new generation biodiesel and bioproducts starting from biomass - Sarteano (Italy), 22-26 July, 2019, - “Making business with green chemistry & sustainable energy” - N. Di Fidio, S. Panchetti, I. De Bari, G. Ragaglini, C. Antonetti, A. M. Raspolli Galletti.

4. Highly efficient microwave-assisted conversion of giant reed (Arundo donax L.) carbohydrates to xylose and levulinic acid over FeCl3 catalyst in green salt solutions – Pisa (Italy), 3 - 5 July 2019 – “Chemistry for the Future” – N. Di Fidio, C. Antonetti, A. M. Raspolli Galletti.

5. Microwave-assisted hydrolysis of giant reed hemicellulose in the presence of Amberlyst-70 as heterogeneous catalyst - Lisbon (Portugal), 27 - 30 May 2019 - “27th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition” - N. Di Fidio, S. Fulignati, C. Antonetti, A. M. Raspolli Galletti.

6. Lactic acid production from undetoxified cardoon hydrolysate by different Lactobacillus species - Bari, 12 – 13 November 2018 – “Green Extraction of Natural Products (GENP 2018)” - N. Di Fidio, F. Liuzzi, G. Agrimi, I. De Bari, I. Pisano.

7. Innovative green catalysts to produce second generation sugars from non-food crops as a versatile biorefinery platform – Pisa, 4 - 6 July 2018 – “Chemistry for the Future” – N. Di Fidio, S. Panchetti, S. Fulignati, C. Antonetti, A. M. Raspolli Galletti.

8. Optimization of acid-catalyzed pretreatment of cardoon residues and development of innovative enzymatic cocktail - Rimini, 7 - 10 November 2017 - “Ecomondo, The Green Technologies Expo” - F. Liuzzi, N. Di Fidio, A. D’Annibale, M. Petruccioli, I. Pisano, I. De Bari.

9. Conversion of raw glycerol and cardoon hydrolysate into single cell oil by oleaginous yeasts - Roma, 5 - 6 October 2017 - “Italian forum on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioeconomy” - A. Caporusso, L. Donzella, N. Di Fidio, I. De Bari.

10. Bioconversion of cardoon hydrolysate sugars into lactic acid - Roma, 5 - 6 October 2017 - “Italian forum on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioeconomy” - I. Pisano, N. Di Fidio, F. Liuzzi, I. De Bari.

11. Lipids and lactic acid production by microbial fermentation of cardoon hydrolysates - Bologna, 23 - 24 March 2017 - Workshop “Third generation biorefineries” - N. Di Fidio, A. Caporusso, F. Liuzzi, S. Mastrolitti, I. Pisano, I. De Bari.

12. Conversion of biomass polysaccharides to microbial high added-value molecules by yeasts - Vicenza, 22 - 23 September 2016 - “Italian forum on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioeconomy” - I. De Bari, N. Di Fidio, A. Caporusso, F. Liuzzi, S. Mastrolitti.

13. Lipids production from lignocellulosic hydrolyzates by the oleaginous yeast Cryptococcus curvatus - Amsterdam, 6 - 9 June 2016 - “24th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition” - I. De Bari, N. Di Fidio, S. Mastrolitti, F. Liuzzi, R. Albergo, V. Valerio - in proceedings pag. 1335 - 1337 (ISBN 978-88-89407-165).

14. Effect of bases and acids during the steam explosion pretreatment and fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass for the production of biobased products - Lodi, 24 - 25 September 2015 - “Italian forum on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioeconomy” - I. De Bari, F. Liuzzi, N. Di Fidio, S. Mastrolitti.

15. Microbial lipid production from mixed sugars hydrolyzates by the oleaginous yeast Cryptococcus curvatus - Perugia, 13 - 17 September 2015 - “32th International Specialized Symposium on Yeasts: Yeasts Biodiversity and Biotechnology in the Twenty-First Century” - S. Mastrolitti, N. Di Fidio, F. Liuzzi, M. A. Capozzi, I. De Bari.

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- Curriculum Vitae