Secondment of Dr M.Jose Oruna-Concha from Reading University (UK) to EVRA (Italy) (9th-16th September 2018)

Being part of the FODIAC consortium has given me the opportunity to travel to Lauria, a town of the province of Potenza, in Basilicata, southern Italy, situated near the borders of Calabria.

The most important feature of this region is the Pollino National Park (Parco del Pollino), a large, protected mountainous area in the far south of Italy, spreading over the border from Basilicata into the neighbouring region, Calabria. It is the largest national park in Italy, covering nearly two thousand square kilometres, with Monte Pollino (2,248m) as one of the highest points.

Although there are several villages and small towns within the borders of the park, is fairly sparsely populated with the extra protection given by its national park status. It is still largely pre-twenty-first century, with picturesque traditional villages and small-scale farming.

I was very keen to visit EVRA, a company that focuses on a research area that I am very interested in: the extraction and processing of plant extracts. I was welcomed by the one of the directors of EVRA Mr Edigio Salamone, Dr Filomena Debiasio (responsible for OSUN, a modern laboratory with advanced technology located inside EVRA’s factory) and all the other researches/technical staff working at the site.

I was given the opportunity to explore first hand their methodology to extract plant extracts and further develop them into food supplements and liquid formulas. EVRA performs direct plant cultivation in the Pollino National Park in collaboration with local Farmers and ALSIA in the region of Basilicata, thus promoting the local regional biodiversity in Italy.

Of course, Italy is also known for its beautiful coastline and I couldn’t resist visiting some of the amazing places that Italy has to offer in my spare time! Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Salerno, Naples, Pompey … to name a few! And the food was amazing too! Grazie