Analytical Chemistry. Coordinator: Ferri

The themes of the research activity include the development of bioluminescent and chemiluminescent analytical methods for complex matrices as well as the application of diverse techniques in the analysis of food, environmental, and pharmaceutical samples

Research themes

The Analytical Chemistry research group offers technical expertise in developing analytical bioluminescent and chemiluminescent methods for complex matrices and in applying diverse analytical techniques for the analysis of food, environmental and pharmaceutical samples.

Chemiluminescence: by using luminescent reactions (enzyme-catalysed oxidations) alone or coupling those to different ones the measurement of several enzymes activity, substrates and co-factors was realized. A microplate chemiluminescent method based on the inhibition of the peroxidase-catalysed reaction of luminol was developed and applied to the analysis of the antioxidant properties of various food matrices. A different application of the same reaction is the measurement of ROS in the air particulate matter. Another one, the detection of traces of peroxide-based explosives (TATP and HMTD).

Bioluminescence: In vivo luminescence is a sensitive indicator of xenobiotic toxicity. By employing different strains of bioluminescent bacteria (BL) various bioassay for environmental monitoring of: heavy metals, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene), hydrocarbons, and antibiotics, among others. BL, easy to lyophilize, store and transport were employed to develop automatized monitoring stations with remote control. BL systems isolated from bacteria can be employed in in vitro assays: the BL ATP assay has been employed to evaluate the bacterial load in sludge from water treatment plants, on surfaces in contact with foods, in the indoor air in overcrowded rooms.

Not luminescent analytical methods: microalgae biotoxicity tests was particularly employed to evaluate the environmental impact of xenobiotics most frequently found in water bodies (phytopharmaceuticals, emerging pollutants). Heavy metals toxicity to fresh and marine water green microalgae and diatomea, as well as their bioaccumulation capacity were tested. Micro SPE-Gas chromatography multi-residual assay was developed to determine the environmental contamination by pesticides and by using honeybees and hive products as analytical samples. Radionuclides: procedures for the identification and quantification of radioactive isotopes in environmental samples were defined by using a Ge hyperpure crystal detector. Forensic sciences: CL-ELISA and colorimetric LFIA assays were developed to reveal TNT traces.

Lab members


Internship projects

 The student will have to make contact indicatively three months before the beginning of the working period.

Compilation Thesis work: 1-2.

Indicative period of thesis preparation: 3-4 months

Experimental Thesis work: 1-2
Indicative Period of thesis preparation: at least 6 months

- Research topics: Application of analytical chemistry methodologies in Foods, environment, clinical, and forensic analysis. For example, Determination of the antioxidant capacity of complex matrices using chemiluminescent assays, bioluminescent analysis of microorganisms in environmental samples and aerosols. Analysis by bioluminescent bacteria ("engineered" and not) or seaweed, and environmental samples derived from bioremediation of contaminated soils.

- Unwinding locations: Department’s laboratories in Bologna or other laboratories in Bologna and adjacent areas. For example, LABORATORY STANTE (Bologna), ARPA (Bologna), GRANAROLO SpA (Granarolo), HERA (Sasso Marconi), GREIT Analytical Laboratories (Bologna), CAMST (Villanova di Castenaso)

Number of places available for thesis work abroad: by notice Erasmus: 2-4, Notice outside Erasmus: 1-2. Indicative Period thesis processing: 6- 9 Months

Main publications

Girotti S., Ghini S., Maiolini E., Bolelli L. and Ferri E.N. (2013). “Trace analysis of pollutants by use of honeybees, immunoassays, and chemiluminescence detection”. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 405(2-3), 555–571.

Giannetto, M., Maiolini, E., Ferri E.N., Girotti S., Mori G. and Careri M. (2013). “Competitive Amperometric Immunosensor Based on Covalent Linking of Haptens to Dendrimer-functionalized Nanogold Substrate for the Determination of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene”. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 405(2-3): 737-743.

Maiolini, E., Ferri, E., Pitasi, A.L., Montoya, A., Di Giovanni, M., Errani, E. and Girotti S. (2014). “Bisphenol A determination in baby bottles by chemiluminescence enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, lateral flow immunoassay and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry”. Analyst, 139: 318–324.

Romolo, F.S., Ferri, E., Mirasoli, M., D’Elia, M., Ripani, L., Peluso, G., Risoluti, R., Maiolini, E. and Girotti S. (2015). “Field detection capability of immunochemical assays during criminal investigations involving the use of TNT”. Forensic Science International, 246: 25-30.

Bolelli, L., Ferri; E.N. and Girotti, S. (2016). “The management and exploitation of naturally light-emitting bacteria as a flexible analytical tool: A tutorial". Analytica Chimica Acta, 934: 22-35.


  • Stefano Girotti

    Alma Mater Honorary Professor

    Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna

    Via Zamboni 33

    Bologna (BO)