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University of Milan/Department of Veterinary Science and Technology for Food Safety / City of Milan

Address, e-mail, fax, phone, website
Address: Via Celoria, 10. 20133 Milano (MI)
E-mail: vsa@unimi.it
Phone: +39 02 503 17920
Fax: +39 02 503 17919
Website: www.vsa.unimi.it

Name of the contact person and contact details 
Prof. Pierluigi Navarotto
Role of the person: Project Manager
Phone: +39 02 503 17928
Fax: +39 02 503 17909
E-mail: pierluigi.navarotto@unimi.it

Brief description of your organisation
The Department of Veterinary Sciences and Technologies for Food Safety, University of Milan (www.unimi.it) was established on 1 January 2001. It belongs the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and it focuses its research activity on many themes all directly or indirectly falling in quality control of food products of animal origin. It is part of the Interdepartmental Centre for Research on Food (CIRA - www.cira.unimi.it) and the Interdisciplinary Centre of Studies on Breast Cancer (CISM), and is accredited by the Region of Lombardy in the system This (www.questio.it) . The Department VSA has its own technological platform whose description is available at http://www.vsa.unimi.it/ricerca/ricerca.htm.
The Bioengineering and Environment Research Group, under the guidance of prof. Pierluigi Navarotto, in the recent years addressed its work towards the issues related to farming technological innovation with reference to the design aspects of livestock structures and their implications on the quality of the indoor environment, and for the mitigation of their environmental impact (atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases and dust, reducing the nitrogen content in manure, use of anaerobic digestion of manure and waste biomass for biogas production) to find a proper balance between productive, economic and environmental needs.

Brief description of your geographic location peculiarities as far as the green house gas emission from dairy farms
Animal husbandry intensification has led to the establishment of norms, standards and laws aimed at limiting its environmental impact, initially perceived mainly in relation to pollution of surface waters (L.319, 1976 "Legge Merli"). By introducing this legislation, the agronomic use of manure started being considered as preferred solution with the consequent need to reduce any manure dilution to make storage and distribution operations less expensive. Hence the systematic dissemination of housing systems equipped with totally slatted floor, if on the one hand, fitted to the contingent requirements of agronomic use, on the other, clashed with the needs of other environmental issues like the atmospheric emissions. Ammonia, methane, and carbon dioxide are the primary atmospheric Emissions from cattle and pig farms. A Significant Part Of them is produced by the decomposition of slurry organic matter during manure storage and treatment phases. Present solutions to contain emissions from storage lagoons generally imply the reduction of the free surface of slurry by covering it with either temporary floating or permanent fixed structures (these enabling the energetic exploitation of farm wastes with biogas production)
This is an option that if on one hand is very promising and attractive because of the positive economic impact it has for the agricultural entrepreneur, on the other raises some concerns about the environmental impacts that may result if the process is not well designed, maintained and/or properly inserted in the framework of the farming system.


University of Milan – Department of Animal Science / City of Milan

Address, e-mail, fax, phone, website    
Address:  Via Celoria 2, 20133 MILANO
E-mail: luca.malagutti@unimi.it
Phone: +39 02 50316439
Fax: +39 02 50316434
Website: http://www.dsa.unimi.it/

Name of the contact person and contact details 
Luca Malagutti
Role of the person: Researcher
Phone: +39 02 5031639
Fax: ++39 02 50316434
E-mail: luca.malagutti@unimi.it

Brief description of your organisation
The unit ‘Zootecnica Agraria’ of the Department of Animal Science has long been conducting research on the environmental aspects of animal nutrition, feeding and husbandry. Particularly, several studies and field investigations and surveys have been made on N excretion and its proportion in faeces and urine in dairy cows and fattening pigs, on ammonia emission from the slurry of pigs fed different diets, on ammonia and sulphur hydrogen concentration in pig production units, and in the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of dairy herds of the mountain area and the Po plain. These research projects have been primarily supported by Lombardy region. For almost twenty years our unit has also been dealing with metabolic experiments to determine the nutritive value of feeds (mainly forages) and diets and the gaseous exchange of farm animals (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs). In combination/integration with these in vivo trials, in vitro and in situ rumen experiments are routinely carried out on forages and diets for cows and pigs, measuring their digestibility, rumen degradability kinetics, gas production and fermentability. Our research unit is made of 6 professors, 7 research workers, 8 technicians/administrators and 5 PhD students.

Brief description of your geographic location peculiarities as far as the green house gas emission from dairy farms
Lombardy is the most zootechnical Italian region: about 4.8 million swine (52% of the national heritage), 1.5 million cattle (about 25% of the national heritage), 96,000 sheep, 65,000 goats and 37 million poultry are bred here. This high concentration of breeding in such a small area adds certainly up to increase the emissions of gases detrimental to the environment, such as CO2, methane and nitrous nitrogen. According to ARPA’s estimates (Regional Agency for Safeguarding the Environment), agriculture is responsible for 54% of methane emissions in Lombardy, one third of which is produced by the ruminants’ enteric fermentation. Even 6% of CO2 and 76% of nitrous nitrogen emissions are ascribable to farming activities, in particular to zootechnical wastewaters when nitrous nitrogen is concerned. It comes clearly out that the implementation of appropriate strategies for reducing and preventing gas emissions by zootechnical breeding is needed. Nutrition is essential for the animal metabolism as well as for wastewaters and emissions, therefore developing proper diets and targeted rationing plans could play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.