The Italian Experimental Institute Lazzaro Spallanzani is an institute of the private law, legally recognised by Regio Decreto on the 29th of November 1941. It is dedicated to the research and services in the biotechnologies of reproduction applied to animal selection.

According to the Legislative Decree 454/99, the Spallanzani Institute is a stable member of Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura (the committee for Research and Experimentation in Agriculture) “…such an Institute that acts in public interests in the researches regarding animal reproduction and selection….”. Moreover, the Institute is listed on the webpage of MIPAAF among the Research Institutes.

The registered office is in Milan in San Barnaba street, 32. The operating centre is at Rivolta d’Adda (CR) with the Headquarters, the Management, the Administration and the following labs: Seminology and Cytofluorimetry, Cryobiology, Embryology and Cytogenetics, Molecular genetics, Quality of Products of Animal Origin, Aquaculture and Cosmetology. The Proteomics lab is at the University of Milan, the department of Veterinary sciences and public health (Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie e Sanità Pubblica (DIVET)).

Thanks to research of the Institute there was an increase of fundamental knowledge for the growth of the Lombard and National zootechnical sector and the safety of the zootechnical productions. Over the years, the development of the segment has become more and more connected to a scientific research, for which the Institute is considered a National reference point.

The Institute focuses on scientific research, experimentation and services in the area of reproductive technologies applied to selection of domestic animals. The research activities are mainly focused on experimental embryology, fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS), seminology, cryobiology, aquaculture, molecular genetics, genomics and proteomics and cosmetology.

The research studies include: animal reproduction, genetic selection and disease resistance, population genetics, bioinformatics and statistics, food safety of animal products, microalgae biotechnologies, toxicology and antibiotic resistance and cosmetology. In addition, the Institute takes part in the genetic typization and characterization of endangered species and in traceability of food of animal origin. The species of interest range from domestic mammals to fishes and bees. The research projects are funded by the Lombardy Region, MiPAAF, the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) and by the European Union and are realized in collaboration with important national and international organizations such as: the University of Milan, Padova, Pavia, Sassari and Piacenza, the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institutes, the Italian Association of Breeders, the Parco Tecnologico Padano, the National Research Council (CNR) and the ENEA.

At a national level the Institute performs the Official Control of animal frozen semen collected in and/or imported into Italy. In compliance with ministerial decrees, the Institute verifies the correct self-certification and correct identification (DM 403/00 and DM of 27.12.94). The management system of the control process is certified in 2010 according to the International Norm UNI EN ISO 9001:2008 (Registration N. 0915474).

Among the statutory purposes of the Institute is the activity of planning and providing advanced training courses in the veterinary, agro-zootechnical and applied biology areas. The training activity is certified in 2010 according to the International Norm UNI EN ISO 9001:2008 (Registration N. 1015593).

There are more than 30 persons working at the Institute including the researchers, technicians and auxiliary staff.

The registered office is in Milan while the operative one is in Rivolta d’Adda (CR) with the Headquarters, the Management, the Administration and the following labs: Seminology and Cytofuorimetry, Cryobiology, Embryology and Cytogenetics, Molecular Genetics, Quality and Safety of Products of Animal Origin and Aquaculture and Cosmetology. The lab of Proteomics works in collaborations with the University of Milan. All the labs are equipped with the most modern tools. There are accommodations for small ruminants and pigs, and a modern experimental equipment of aquaculture of 1000 sq m equipped with Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) and two laboratories dedicated to the cultivation of microalgae.

More specifically, in Rivolta d’Adda are present:

  • The Reproduction and Selection sector with the labs of Seminology, Cryobiology, Embryology and Cytogenetic where all the research activities and reproductive services, mostly of species of zootechnical interest, took place.

  • The Aquaculture sector is dedicated to applied research, being the development of innovative techniques regarding both salt- and freshwater fish species with the aim to apply them in selective schemes. The installation covers the surface of 1 000 m² and is based on systems of closed circuit (24 tanks of 5 m² and 210 tanks of 0.2 m²). The sector, having a proper modern lab, is also dedicated to the study and use of microalgae in the zootechnical study area.

  • The Quality and Safety of production sector, with the Product – Quality lab is dedicated to the study of the quality, specialities and safety of products of animal origin.

  • The Molecular Genetics laboratory, relevant for the various sectors, is where the biotechnology and genomics are applied in the development of the relevant research and services. The lab is equipped with capillary sequencers and OpenArray system for SNP chip at low density.

  • The Cosmetology sector with the labs of Microbiology and Analytical Chemistry.

In Milan, the Proteomics lab (at the Department of Veterinary sciences and public health (DIVET)) takes part in numerous national and european projects.

The main research lines are focused on the implementation of new techniques and protocols in the following areas: seminology, cryobiology, the characterization/prediction of male fertility, animal genetic traceability, the characterization/identification of products and the resistance to diseases. The species of interest range from domestic mammals to fishes and bees.

The Institute is the holder of several research projects fundedby the European Union, MiPAAF, the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) and the Lombardy region, in the context of animal reproduction and molecular genetics technologies applied to selection schemes and the identification of products of animal origin.

The research activity of the Institute becomes more solid over the years thanks to numerous publications of scientific works in national and international journals and the participation at conferences and workshops, and thanks to the review activity of scientific works for international scientific journals.

Other services of the Institute include the quality control of sperm, carried out for the semen production centres, the genetic population studies applied to the dog breeds and the development of genetic indexes for diseases resistance in fish.

Moreover, the Institute holds National and International patents for fish sperm cryopreservation, for the sexing of the bovine sperm and for other applied bio techniques.