Research Groups

Industrial Biotechnology

Research Interests and Description
Group Members

Giuliano Degrassi


International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Polo Científico Tecnológico
Godoy Cruz 2390, C1425FQD, Bs. As., Argentina

Office tel: +54-11-48995500, ext. 8534


Degree in Agricultural Sciences, University of Udine, Italy, 1986
Life Sciences, The Open University, London, UK, PhD 2000

Career History

Since 2012, Visiting Scientist (PVE), Postgrad Program, Brazilian CNPq/CAPES “Science without Borders”, Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Brazil
Since 2013, Staff Scientist, IBIOBA-ICGEB, Polo Científico Tecnológico, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2001-2011, Staff Scientist, Biosafety Unit, ICGEB Trieste, Italy
2000-2013, Staff Scientist, Bacteriology Group, ICGEB Trieste, Italy
1991-2000, Research Associate, Microbiology Group, ICGEB Trieste, Italy
1991, Marketing manager, Caffaro, Milano
1989-1991, Co-ordinator, Research and Development of biopesticides, CRC, Compagnia di Ricerca Chimica, S. Giovanni al Natisone, Udine, Italy
1986-1991, Director of Manufacturing, CRC, Udine, Italy

Scientific Activity

Initial professional experience was in the field of research, development and production of biological insecticides and other biotechnological products for agricolture, with a period spent in the marketing department of an agrobiotechnological company. In 1991 G. Degrassi started his scientific career at ICGEB, focusing mainly on the biodegradation of the plant cell wall, regulation of gene expression in gram negative bacteria, bacterial virulence factors, plant-pathogens interaction, purification and characterization of bacterial enzymes with potential biotechnological applications.

Current research interest focuses on (i) development of inculants for agriculture, mainly bacterial endophytes with beneficial properties on plant growth and crop protection, and (ii) research and development of enzyme preparations to be used in processes of bioenergy production.

Part of the research activity is funded through grants from public institutions and private companies. A three year grant was awarded in 2012 by the CAPES/CNPq Brasilian agency within the program “Science without border, Pesquisador Visitante Especial”. The same year another project was funded by Fundacao Araucaria, Parana’, Brasil. Both grants are part of a collaboration with the Universidade Estadual de Londrina and EMBRAPA, Brasil, to study the bacteria associated with soybean. Collaboration covers research and training, and includes regular teaching in the Postgraduate course in the Agronomy Department of UEL.

In 2014 a contract was signed with an Italian company to fund research and development of microbial inoculants for agriculture. 

Selected publications

González, J.F., Degrassi, G., Devescovi, G., De Vleesschauwer, D., Höfte, M., Myers, M.P., Venturi, V. 2012. A proteomic study of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae in rice xylem sap. J Proteomics 75, 5911-5919 PubMed link

Evidente, A., Venturi, V., Masi, M., Degrassi, G., Cimmino, A., Maddau, L., Andolfi, A. 2011. In Vitro Antibacterial Activity of Sphaeropsidins and Chemical Derivatives toward Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae, the Causal Agent of Rice Bacterial Blight. J Nat Prod 74, 2520-2525 PubMed link

Degrassi, G., Devescovi, G., Bigirimana, J., Venturi, V. 2010. Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae XKK.12 contains an AroQgamma chorismate mutase that is involved in rice virulence. Phytopathology 100, 262-270 PubMed link

Patel HK, Suárez-Moreno ZR, Degrassi G, Subramoni S, González JF, Venturi V. 2013. Bacterial LuxR solos have evolved to respond to different molecules including signals from plants. Front Plant Sci. 4:447

Covaceuszach S, Degrassi G, Venturi V, Lamba D. 2013. Structural insights into a novel interkingdom signaling circuit by cartography of the ligand-binding sites of the homologous quorum sensing LuxR-family. Int J Mol Sci. 14:20578-96 

González JF, Degrassi G, Devescovi G, De Vleesschauwer D, Höfte M, Myers MP, Venturi V. 2012. A proteomic study of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae in rice xylem sap. J Proteomics. 75:5911-9.

Evidente A, Venturi V, Masi M, Degrassi G, Cimmino A, Maddau L, Andolfi A. 2011. In Vitro Antibacterial Activity of Sphaeropsidins and Chemical Derivatives toward Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae, the Causal Agent of Rice Bacterial Blight. J Nat Prod.

Araya-Quesada M, Degrassi G, Ripandelli D, Craig W. 2010. Key elements in a strategic approach to capacity building in the biosafety of genetically modified organisms. Environ Biosafety Res. 9:59-65. 

Degrassi G, Devescovi G, Bigirimana J, Venturi V. 2010. Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae XKK.12 contains an AroQgamma chorismate mutase that is involved in rice virulence. Phytopathology 100:262-70.

Degrassi G, Devescovi G, Kim J, Hwang I, Venturi V.  2008. Identification, characterization and regulation of two secreted polygalacturonases of the emerging rice pathogen Burkholderia glumae.  FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 65:251-262.

Devescovi G, Bigirimana J, Degrassi G, Cabrio L, LiPuma JJ, Kim J, Hwang I, Venturi V. 2007. Involvement of a quorum-sensing-regulated lipase secreted by a clinical isolate of Burkholderia glumae in severe disease symptoms in rice.  Appl Environ Microbiol. 15:4950-8

Massa C, Degrassi G, Devescovi G, Venturi V, Lamba D.  2007. Isolation, heterologous expression and characterization of an endo-polygalacturonase produced  by the phytopathogen Burkholderia cepacia.  Protein Expression and Purification 54:300-308

Ahmadian G, Degrassi G, Venturi V, Zeigler D, Soudi M, Zanguinejad P.  2007. Bacillus pumilus SG2 isolated from saline conditions produces and secretes two chitinases.  J Appl Microbiol.103:1081-9.

Basso A,Braiuca P, Cantone S, Ebert C, Linda P, Spizzo P, Caimi P, Hanefeld U, Degrassi G, Gardossi L.  2007. In Silico Analysis of Enzyme Surface and Glycosylation Effect as a Tool for Efficient Covalent Immobilisation of CalB and PGA on Sepabeads®.  Advanced Synthesis & Catalysis 349:877-886

Degrassi G, Devescovi G, Solis R, Steindler L, Venturi V.  2007. Oryza sativa rice plants contain molecules that activate different quorum-sensing N-acyl homoserine lactone biosensors and are sensitive to the specific AiiA lactonase.  FEMS Microbiol Lett. 269:213-220

Solis R, Bertani I, Degrassi G, Devescovi G, Venturi V. 2006. Involvement of quorum sensing and RpoS in rice seedling blight caused by Burkholderia plantarii.  FEMS Microbiol Lett. 259:106-12.

Senerovic L, Stankovic N, Spizzo P, Basso A, Gardossi L, Vasiljevic B, Ljubijankic G, Tisminetzky S, Degrassi G.  2006. High-level production and covalent immobilization of Providencia rettgeri penicillin G acylase (PAC) from recombinant Pichia pastoris for the development of a novel and stable biocatalyst of industrial applicability.  Biotechnol Bioeng. 93:344-54.

Krastanova, I, Guarnaccia, C, Zahariev S, Degrassi G, Lamba D. 2005.  Heterologous expression, purification, crystallization, X-ray analysis and phasing of the acetyl xylan esterase from Bacillus pumilus.  Biochim Biophys Acta. 1748:222-30.

Pesaresi A, Devescovi G, Lamba D, Venturi V, Degrassi G. 2005. Isolation, Characterization, and Heterologous Expression of a Carboxylesterase of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1.  Curr Microbiol. 50:102-109.

Venturi V, Venuti C, Devescovi G, Lucchese C, Friscina A, Degrassi G, Aguilar C, Mazzucchi U. 2004. The plant pathogen Erwinia amylovora produces acyl-homoserine lactone signal molecules in vitro and in planta.  FEMS Microbiol Lett. 241:179-83.

Degrassi G, Alexandrova N, Ripandelli D. 2003. Databases on biotechnology and biosafety of GMOs  Environ. Biosafety Res. 3:145-160

Degrassi G, Vindigni A, Venturi V. 2003. A thermostable alpha-arabinofuranosidase from xylanolytic Bacillus pumilus: purification and characterisation.  J Biotechnol. 101:69-79.

Degrassi G, Aguilar C, Bosco M, Zahariev S, Pongor S, Venturi V. 2002. Plant growth-promoting Pseudomonas putida WCS358 produces and secretes four cyclic dipeptides: cross-talk with quorum sensing bacterial sensors.  Curr Microbiol. 45:250-254.

Ljubijankic G, Gvozdenovic J, Sevo M, Degrassi G.  2002. High-level secretory expression of penicillin amidase from Providencia rettgeri in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: purification and characterization.  Biotechnol Prog. 18:330-336.

Sevo M, Degrassi G, Skoko N, Venturi V, Ljubijankic G.  2002. Production of glycosylated thermostable Providencia rettgeri penicillin G amidase in Pichia pastoris.  FEMS Yeast Res. 1:271-7.

Benini S, Degrassi G, Krastanova I, Lamba D, Venturi V. 2001.  Purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of an acetylxylan esterase from Bacillus pumilus.  Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 57:1906-1907.

Degrassi G, Venturi V.  2001. Acetyl xylan esterases from microorganisms: roles, differences and properties.  Res. Adv. Biosci. Bioeng. 1: 33-43.

Degrassi G, Kojic M, Ljubijankic G, Venturi V. 2000. The acetyl xylan esterase of Bacillus pumilus belongs to a family of esterases with broad substrate specificity.  Microbiology.146 :1585-1591.

Kojic M, Degrassi G, Venturi V. 1999.  Cloning and characterisation of the rpoS gene from plant growth-promoting Pseudomonas putida WCS358: RpoS is not involved in siderophore and homoserine lactone production. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1489:413-20.

Degrassi G, Uotila L, Klima R, Venturi V. 1999. Purification and properties of an esterase from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and identification of the encoding gene.  Appl Environ Microbiol. 65:3470-3472.

Degrassi G, Okeke BC, Bruschi CV, Venturi V. 1998 Purification and characterization of an acetyl xylan esterase from Bacillus pumilus.  Appl Environ Microbiol. 64:789-92.

Venturi V, Zennaro F, Degrassi G, Okeke BC, Bruschi CV. 1998. Genetics of ferulic acid bioconversion to protocatechuic acid in plant-growth-promoting Pseudomonas putida WCS358.  Microbiology. 144 :965-73.

Zago A, Degrassi G, Bruschi CV. 1995. Cloning, sequencing, and expression in Escherichia coli of the Bacillus pumilus gene for ferulic acid decarboxylase.  Appl Environ Microbiol. 61:4484-4486.

Delneri D, Degrassi G, Rizzo R, Bruschi CV. 1995. Degradation of trans-ferulic and p-coumaric acid by Acinetobacter calcoaceticus DSM 586.  Biochim Biophys Acta. 1244:363-367.

Degrassi G, Polverino De Laureto P, Bruschi CV. 1995. Purification and characterization of ferulate and p-coumarate decarboxylase from Bacillus pumilus.  Appl Environ Microbiol. 61:326-32.



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