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History of Plant Pathology in Italy

Laura Mugnai: DISPAA, University of Florence

<div><em>Michelia, Commentarium Mycologiae Italicae</em> is a journal published in 1877 and so called in honor of P.A. Micheli by P.A. Saccardo, who is known as "the Linnaeus of fungi" for having published the <em>Sylloge fungorum omnium hucusque cognitorum</em> (Collection of all the fungi so far known). Nearly 150 years previously, Micheli published <em>Nova plantarum genera</em>, a monumental work of 25 volumes in which he described nearly 900 different fungi, including species of <em>Aspergillus</em>, <em>Botrytis</em> and <em>Puccinia</em>, as well as the process of meiosis in basidia and the production of asci and ascospores. He also observed that fungi developed from the spores they produced. This work, published in 1729, is considered to be the birth of mycology worldwide. Before 1860s, many Italian scientists can be remembered, such as G. Targioni-Tozzetti and F. Fontana who contributed to the definition of the aetiology and early infectious phases of some wheat rusts. Then coinciding with Italy's political reunification (1861–1870) various Research Institutions began to be founded such as the <em>Regio Istituto Forestale di Valle Ombrosa</em> in Florence (1869), the <em>Scuola Superiore di Agricoltura</em> in Portici-Naples (1872), the <em>Regia Stazione Vegetale</em> in Rome (1887), all of which supported research and teaching activities of Italian Universities. Today, Italian Plant Pathology is highly developed and has enjoyed the foresight of many scientists who in the 1950s and 1960s layed the foundations for modern Plant Pathology.</div>

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