Director of ResearchGiorgio Giraffa


Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: +39 0371 45011


  • Graduated in Food Science and Technology, University of Milan, Italy
  • Post-doctoral, three-year specialization on Biotechnology, University of Milan, Italy
  • Qualified as a food technologist since 1998
  • Postgraduated fellowships at INRA, Jouy-en-Josas (France) and NIZO, Ede (The Netherlands) for overall 12 months
  • Training stages at INRA (Institut National Recherche Agronomique, Jouy-en-Josas, France), NIZO (Ede, The Netherlands), Institut Pasteur (Paris, France) on technical and scientific aspects of dairy bacteriophages, molecular biology of LAB and pathogenic clostridia (Clostridium botulinum).

Research positions

Scientist from 1987 at CRA-FLC Centre (former Istituto Sperimentale Lattiero Caseario) of Lodi; Senior scientist from 1997; Director of Research from 2007, Director of the Centre from 2010 to 2014. Director of the Maize Research Unit (CRA-MAC) of Bergamo from October 2012 to March 2013.


Dairy microbiology, food biotechnology. At the Centre he introduced the routine use of molecular methods (such as probe hybridization, RAPD-PCR, species-specific PCR, RFLP techniques and DNA sequencing) for identification and characterization of LAB isolates.

Main research topics

  • Lactic acid bacteria: Genetic and phenotypic identification and typing at species and strain level
  • Lactic acid bacteria probiotics: source and characterization
  • Lactic acid bacteria bacteriophages: isolation, molecular detection and characterization
  • Microbial characterization of traditional Italian cheeses: starter and non-starter microflora
  • Microbial ecology of dairy bacteria: microbial interactions and dynamics in dairy products

Scientific responsibilities

Research Unit responsible in several national and international projects or research collaborations; scientific coordinator of the “dairy sector” of the CRA-FLC from 2007 to 2010.

Scientific publications

Author of over 300 papers, a half of which on international journals with medium-high impact factor, including chapters in international textbooks. Invited speaker at several national and international congresses. Associate Editor of the Journal Frontiers in Food Microbiology. Belonging to several Boards of International Journals. H-index: 30 (last update: August 2016;

Teaching activity

Over 1000 lecturing hours on dairy microbiology at technical and professional training courses; contract professor on Dairy Microbiology, University of Pisa, Italy from 1998 to 2007.

Recent selected publications

  1. Giraffa G. (2007). Enterococci and dairy products. In: Handbook of Food Production Manufacturing, H. Huy (Editor). John Wiley & Sons Inc., New York, Vol. II, chapter 50, pp. 85-97.
  2. Maietti L., Bonvini B., Huys G., Giraffa G. (2007). Incidence of antibiotic resistance and virulence determinants among Enterococcus italicus isolates from dairy products. Syst. Appl. Microbiol., 30, 509-517.
  3. Zago M., Suarez V., Reinheimer J. A., Carminati D., Giraffa G. (2007). Spread and variability of the integrase gene in Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. lactis strains and phages isolated from whey starter cultures. J. Appl. Microbiol., 102, 344-351.
  4. Zago M., Rossetti L., Reinheimer J., Carminati D., Giraffa G. (2008). Detection and identification of Lactobacillus helveticus bacteriophages by PCR. J. Dairy Res., 75, 196-201.
  5. Fornasari M.E., Rossetti L., Remagni C., Giraffa G. (2008). Quantification of Enterococcus italicus in traditional Italian cheeses by fluorescence whole-cell hybridization. Syst. Appl. Microbiol., 31, 223-230.
  6. Giraffa G., Carminati D. (2008). Molecular techniques in food fermentation: principles and applications. In: Molecular techniques in the microbial ecology of fermented foods, L. Cocolin & D. Ercolini (Editors). Springer Science, New York, pp. 1-30.
  7. Giraffa G. (2009). Antibiotic resistance in food lactic acid bacteria. In: Antibiotic resistance: causes and risk factors, mechanisms and alternatives, A. R. Bonilla & K. P. Muniz (Editors). Nova Science Publishers Inc., New York, US, pp. 371-378.
  8. Rossetti L., Carminati D., Zago M., Giraffa G. (2009). A Qualified Presumption of Safety approach for the safety assessment of Grana Padano whey starters. Int. J. Food Microbiol., 130, 70-73.
  9. Giraffa G., Chanishvili N., Widyastuti Y. (2010). Importance of lactobacilli in food and feed biotechnology. Res. Microbiol., 161, 480-487.
  10. Zago M., Huys G., Giraffa G. (2010). Molecular basis and transferability of tetracycline resistance in Enterococcus italicus LMG 22195 from fermented milk. Int. J. Food Microbiol., 142, 234-236.
  11. Giraffa G. (2010). Cheese production: nonstarter culture bacteria. In: Encyclopedia of Biotechnology in Agriculture and Food, D. R. Heldman, D. G. Hoover & M. B. Wheeler (Editors). Taylor and Francis, London, pp. 143-146.
  12. Carminati D., Giraffa G., Quiberoni A., Binetti A., Suarez V., Reinheimer J. (2010). Advances and trends in starter cultures for dairy fermentations. In: Biotechnology of lactic acid bacteria: novel applications, F. Mozzi, R. R. Raya, & G. M. Vignolo (Editors). Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Ames, Iowa, US, pp. 177-192.
  13. Zago M., Fornasari M. E., Carminati D., Burns P., Suarez V., Vinderola G., Reinheimer J., Giraffa G. (2011). Characterization and probiotic potential of Lactobacillus plantarum strains isolated from cheeses. Food Microbiol., 28, 1033-1040 .
  14. Zago M., Scaltriti E., Fornasari M. E.,Rivetti C., Grolli S., Giraffa G., Ramoni R., Carminati D. (2012). Epifluorescence and atomic force microscopy: two innovative applications for studying phage-host interactions in Lactobacillus helveticus. J. Microbiol. Meth., 88, 41-46.
  15. Giraffa G. (2012). Selection and design of lactic acid bacteria probiotic cultures. Eng. Life Sci., 12, 391-398.
  16. Zago M., Lanza B., Rossetti L., Muzzalupo I., Carminati D., Giraffa G. (2013). Selection of Lactobacillus plantarum strains to use as starters in fermented table olives: oleuropeinase activity and phage sensitivity. Food Microbiol. 43, 81-87.
  17. Zago M., Scaltriti E., Rossetti L., Guffanti A., Armiento A., Fornasari M. E., Grolli S., Carminati D., Brini E., Pavan P., Felsani A., D’urzo A., Moles A., Claude J., Grandori R., Ramoni R., Giraffa G. (2013). Characterization of the genome of the dairy Lactobacillus helveticus bacteriophage φAQ113. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 79, 4712-4718.
  18. Giraffa G. Lactobacillus helveticus: Importance in food and health. Front. Microbiol. 5, 338 (2014).
  19. Meucci A., Zago M., Rossetti L., Fornasari M.E., Bonvini B., Tidona F., Povolo M., Contarini G., Carminati D., Giraffa G. Lactococcus hircilactis sp. nov., Lactococcus laudensis sp. nov., isolated from milk. Int. J. System. Evol. Microbiol. 65, 2091-2096 (2015).
  20. Tidona F., Francolino S., Zhang H., Contarini G., Cui S.W, Giraffa G., Carminati D. Design of a starter culture to produce a reduced-fat soft cheese with added bio-value. J. Food Nut. Res. 55, 33-39 (2016).