The Experimental Institute for Dairy Products

The origin of the Experimental Institute for Dairy Products (Istituto Sperimentale Lattiero-Caseario, ISLC) dates back to 1871, when it was established by Royal decree to join together science and practical cheese-making skills. In 1923 the Institute bought a farm to carry out research in the whole filer from milk to cheese.

The name of Experimental Institute for Dairy Products was created in 1967, in  a reform  leading to ISLC and several other research institutions to be fully integrated into the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The organization was enlarged  including four Central Sections (Applied Techniques, Chemistry, Microbiology and Enzymology and Technology) in a central unit of 800 m2, a farm extended for 40 ha and with approx 60 milking cows, and a processing pilot plant of over 600 m2.

The Institute has mainly been funded by the Ministry of Agriculture on the basis of research programs  by the National Council of Agriculture. The Institute has taken part of research programs financed by the EU in the third and fourth Framework. Additional funds have come from the participation in special projects or research contracts with other public and private organizations and institutions including industries, protection Consortia, Regions, and Mountain Communities.

Between 1980 to 1992 the director, Dr. Sandra Carini, contributed greatly to research on dairy microbiology and technology, particularly for traditional and PDO Italian cheeses, leading this institution to be among the top-ranking ones in the field in Europe. Under her direction, the Institute introduced the use of lysozyme to safeguard the quality of Grana Padano cheese against late blowing defects. Other research topics in the cheese area started during this period and progressed until 2006; they included the study of microbial diversity, the improvement of hygienic quality, and the application of new techniques to improve product traceability and characterization.