Dr. Rosario Iacono

Contact / Address

Dr. Rosario Iacono

Department of Soil Ecology
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 4 | D-06120 Halle/Saale

Dr. Rosario Iacono

Research Interests

The sentence "It is not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it" by Hans Selye becomes particularly true for sessile organisms such as plants, that cannot escape environmental stressors. Plant response to biotic and abiotic stress has defined the development of human civilization and will play a crucial role in our ability to cope with climate change while protecting biodiversity and maintaining agricultural food production.

Broadly, my interest lies in the investigation of the response of plants to environmental stress and its impact on environmental preservation and the development of sustainable agriculture.

During my PhD, I focused on the study of the effect of genetic background and nutrient stress on plant cell wall variability in species of the tropical grass Miscanthus, a potential biomass crop for marginal lands in Europe.

My previous academic experiences include the study of sulphate transporters in Brassicaeae and the develpment of predictive models of the impact of large-scale agrivoltaic plants in Mediterranean areas.

So far, my set of skills includes cell wall analysis, molecular biology and data analysis.

Hydroponics 2019. Photo:Rosario Iacono

Current Project

At the Department of Soil Ecology, I am part of the Core project 8 within the Biodiversity Exploratories.

The topic of the project is: "Soil microbial diversity and community composition of grassland and forest ecosystems along land-use gradients"

Within the project, my work focuses on the investigation of the long-term effects of land use management intensities on the microbial communities in the soil.

CV / Scientific Career

since 2023

Postdoctoral researcher

Department of Soil Ecology
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Halle (Saale), Germany

2023 - 2023

Research Fellow

Deprtment of Agriculture, Food And Environment (Di3A)
University of Catania
Catania, Italy

2022 - 2022


Department of Agriculture. Food and Environment (Di3A)
University of Catania
Catania, Italy

2021 - 2022

Founder & CEO

Kasveista UG
Berlin, Germany

2020 - 2021

Visiting Scientist

Liebniz Centre for Agricultural landscape Research (ZALF)
Müncheberg, Germany

2016 - 2020

PhD Student

Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS),
Aberystwyth University
Aberystwyth, Wales, UK

2011 - 2012


Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Production, Landscape, Agroenergy
University of Milan
Milan, Italy


  • Association for Vertical Farming (AVF), Individual member, 2023

Teaching qualifications

Associate Fellow Teacher of the Higher Education Academy

Complete List of Publications

Iacono R., Slavov G.T., Davey C., Clifton-Brown J., Allison G., Bosch M. (2023): Variability of cell wall recalcitrance and composition in genotypes of Miscanthus from different genetic groups and geographical origin, Front. Plant Sci. volume: 14, DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2023.1155188

Bhatia R., Dalton S., Roberts L.A., Morón-García O., Iacono R., Kosik O., Gallagher J.A., Bosch M. (2019): Modified expression of ZmMYB167 in Brachypodium distachyon and Zea mays leads to increased cell wall lignin and phenolic content.  Sci.Rep. 9,8800. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-45225-9

Iacono R., Lancilli C., Nocito F.F. (2011): Regulation of sulphate uptake in Arabidopsis thaliana: The possible role of STRAM1. Minerva Biotecnologica, 23 (suppl. 1), 62-63

Conference Contributions

Conference abstract

Iacono R., Allison G., Bosch M. (2020):Effects of nitrogen and phosphorus limitation on phenological, physiological and biomass conversion traits in natural accessions and hybrids of Miscanthus spp. Abstract for Monogram 2020 Conference (Cancelled for COVID19). University of Dundee, Dundee (UK).


Barbera C.A., Iacono R. (2022). Emerging evidence on rice (O. sativa L.) irrigated with water contaminated by residual pharmaceutical chemicals. International One Health Conference 2022, Catania (Italy)

Iacono R., Allison G., Boch M. (2018): Miscanthus cell wall recalcitrance to deconstruction: Can we tar a whole genus with the same brush?,VIII Plant Cell Wall Conference, Asilomar (California, USA)


Iacono R., Allison G., Boch M. (2019). Assessing the variability of cell wall characteristics in Miscanthus from various genetic backgrounds, XV Cell Wall Meeting (2019),Cambridge, UK

Iacono R., Allison G., Boch M. (2019). Biomass fit for biorefineries: detailed characterization of lignocellulosic biomass from 12 Miscanthus  genotypes, IV LBNet Meeting, Manchester, UK

Iacono R., Allison G., Boch M. (2018). Miscanthus cell wall recalcitrance to deconstruction: Can we tar a whole genus with the same brush? III LBNet Meeting, Manchester, UK