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1.  Nutraceutical effects of table green olives: a pilot study with Nocellara del Belice olives 
Background
The aim of this study was to analyse the nutraceutical properties of table green olives Nocellara del Belice, a traditional Mediterranean food. The Mediterranean Diet has as key elements olives and extra virgin olive oil, common to all Mediterranean countries. Olive oil is the main source of fat and can modulate oxidative stress and inflammation, whereas little is known about the role of olives. Moreover, emerging evidences underline the association between gut microbiota and food as the basis of many phenomena that affect health and delay or avoid the onset of some age-related chronic diseases.
Methods
In order to show if table green olives have nutraceutical properties and/or probiotic effect, we performed a nutritional intervention, administering to 25 healthy subjects (mean age 38,3), 12 table green olives/day for 30 days. We carried out anthropometric, biochemical, oxidative stress and cytokines analyses at the beginning of the study and at the end. Moreover, we also collected fecal samples to investigate about the possible variation of concentration of Lactobacilli, after the olives consumption.
Result
Our results showed a significant variation of one molecule related to oxidative stress, malondialdehyde, confirming that Nocellara del Belice green olives could have an anti-oxidant effect. In addition, the level of interleukin-6 decreased significantly, demonstrating how this food could be able to modulate the inflammatory response. Moreover, it is noteworthy the reduction of fat mass with an increase of muscle mass, suggesting a possible effect on long time assumption of table olives on body mass variation. No statistically significant differences were observed in the amount of Lactobacilli, although a trend towards an increased concentration of them at the end of the intervention could be related to the nutraceutical effects of olives.
Conclusion
These preliminary results suggest a possible nutraceutical effect of daily consumption of green table olives Nocellara del Belice. To best of our knowledge, this is the first study performed to assess nutraceutical properties of this food. Of course, it is necessary to verify the data in a larger sample of individuals to confirm their role as nutraceuticals.
doi:10.1186/s12979-016-0067-y
PMCID: PMC4822236  PMID: 27053940
Table green olives; Mediterranean Diet; Nutraceuticals; Dietary intervention; Oxidative stress; Inflammatory status
2.  Tuberculosis Epidemiology in Islands: Insularity, Hosts and Trade 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e71074.
Because of their relative simplicity and the barriers to gene flow, islands are ideal systems to study the distribution of biodiversity. However, the knowledge that can be extracted from this peculiar ecosystem regarding epidemiology of economically relevant diseases has not been widely addressed. We used information available in the scientific literature for 10 old world islands or archipelagos and original data on Sicily to gain new insights into the epidemiology of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC). We explored three nonexclusive working hypotheses on the processes modulating bovine tuberculosis (bTB) herd prevalence in cattle and MTC strain diversity: insularity, hosts and trade. Results suggest that bTB herd prevalence was positively correlated with island size, the presence of wild hosts, and the number of imported cattle, but neither with isolation nor with cattle density. MTC strain diversity was positively related with cattle bTB prevalence, presence of wild hosts and the number of imported cattle, but not with island size, isolation, and cattle density. The three most common spoligotype patterns coincided between Sicily and mainland Italy. However in Sicily, these common patterns showed a clearer dominance than on the Italian mainland, and seven of 19 patterns (37%) found in Sicily had not been reported from continental Italy. Strain patterns were not spatially clustered in Sicily. We were able to infer several aspects of MTC epidemiology and control in islands and thus in fragmented host and pathogen populations. Our results point out the relevance of the intensity of the cattle commercial networks in the epidemiology of MTC, and suggest that eradication will prove more difficult with increasing size of the island and its environmental complexity, mainly in terms of the diversity of suitable domestic and wild MTC hosts.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071074
PMCID: PMC3726611  PMID: 23923053
3.  Optimized RNA Extraction and Northern Hybridization in Streptomycetes 
Northern blot hybridization is a useful tool for analyzing transcript patterns. To get a picture of what really occurs in vivo, it is necessary to use a protocol allowing full protection of the RNA integrity and recovery and unbiased transfer of the entire transcripts population. Many protocols suffer from severe limitations including only partial protection of the RNA integrity and/or loss of small sized molecules. Moreover, some of them do not allow an efficient and even transfer in the entire sizes range. These difficulties become more prominent in streptomycetes, where an initial quick lysis step is difficult to obtain. We present here an optimized northern hybridization protocol to purify, fractionate, blot, and hybridize Streptomyces RNA. It is based on grinding by a high-performance laboratory ball mill, followed by prompt lysis with acid phenol-guanidinium, alkaline transfer, and hybridization to riboprobes. Use of this protocol resulted in sharp and intense hybridization signals relative to long mRNAs previously difficult to detect.
doi:10.1007/s12575-010-9027-7
PMCID: PMC3055743  PMID: 21406069
streptomycetes; total RNA purification; RNA processing; RNA degradation; RNA glyoxylation; alkaline blotting; northern hybridization

Results 1-3 (3)