Animal science

The Departament of Animal Science is focused on optimising livestock systems and making them more sustainable, as well as producing foods of animal origin, conserving indigenous breeds, upgrading value chains and preventing infectious diseases with a public health impact. To this end, work is being done to improve the use of Aragon’s resources and to increase the technical and economic efficiency of livestock production, and the quality and safety of animal products. Studies are also being carried out on epidemiology as well as the diagnosis and control of livestock diseases and zoonoses.

The Department contributes to knowledge on the technical management of cattle and sheep flocks, the development of new feeding systems and their effect on product quality and traceability, the improvement of fertility and prolificacy through the management and use of genomic/genetic tools, product diversification in different livestock species, and the effects of livestock farming on the environment and its capacity to provide ecosystem services. It thus contributes to providing society with healthy, sustainably produced food and meeting the expectations of different consumers. In the field of animal health, the department is renowned for its significant advances in epidemiological studies and in developing vaccines and diagnostic methods for the prevention and control of diseases such as brucellosis, salmonellosis and various parasitic diseases.

Plant science

The Department of Plant Science carries out research on 4 main groups of plant species: temperate fruit trees, horticultural species, aromatic and medicinal plants and truffle species.

In fruit and vegetable species, 4 main interrelated areas are covered:

  • Plant genetic resources, with the conservation and management of both seeds, in the Horticultural Germplasm Bank, and fruit trees, in the stone and pip fruit tree collections. All collections held belong to the National Network of Collections of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture under the National Programme for the Conservation and Use of Plant Genetic Resources.

  • Genetic improvement is conducted, with the breeding of new varieties and the development of tools to optimise the breeding and selection process by identifying markers and genes related to traits of interest, mainly for production and quality.

  • Production optimisation, focusing on the study of agronomic and biological aspects that regulate processes such as reproductive biology, floral self-incompatibility, adaptation to climate change, phenology, grafting compatibility, tree architecture, resistance to pests and diseases and tolerance to environmental stresses.

  • In the Trufficulture and Mycology area, studies focus on the analysis of the ectomycorrhizal and fungal biodiversity of wild and cultivated truffles and the characterisation of mycological biodiversity, as well as the analysis of pathologies and pests associated with truffles and the control and certification of the quality of mycorrhizal plants and truffles.

  • Quality and post-harvest research focuses on fruit ripening and its organoleptic characteristics and nutritional composition, as well as aspects of suitability for conservation and the application of different technologies for prolonging shelf life, including the development of modified atmospheres and new, more sustainable packaging.

Environment, Agricultural and Forest Systems

Agriculture and forestry systems provide us with environmental goods and services. Such provision must be guided by the principles of sustainability, and, in the face of the difficulties imposed by global change, we must manage it in a way that strengthens its long-term resilience.

The Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Forestry Systems aims to generate scientific and technical information to establish and promote more competitive, efficient and sustainable agricultural and forestry systems. In order to meet this objective, our work is focused on:

  • Understanding the nature and dynamics of ecosystems.

  • Deepening the integrated management of the agricultural and forestry ecosystem using its own biodiversity.

  • Identifying and conservingnatural and agricultural resources and the environment.

  • Determining biological and ecological interactions between species.

  • Increasing efficiency in the use of production inputs and reducing the costs and environmental impact of farming and forestry.

  • Developing innovative technologies for diagnosing, managing and optimising these systems.

Agrifood Economics Unit

Research activity focuses on the economic analysis of bioeconomy activities and their relationship with the rural environment, the environment, natural resources and climate change. The group’s three research areas are:

  • Bioeconomy, sustainable land development and climate change

  • Agri-food chain competitiveness and sustainability

  • Environmental and natural resource economics

The first area analyses the economic activities of the bioeconomy and its contribution to economic and social development in rural areas and to the fight against climate change and rural depopulation.

In the “agri-food chain competitiveness and sustainability” area, economic studies are carried out on the value chain of agri-food products, from production and processing to distribution, trade and consumption, taking into account not only efficiency and productivity, but also sustainability linked to more environmentally and socially responsible practices.

In the last area, “environment and natural resource economics”, economic and environmental analyses are carried out for the assessment and design of public policies that promote a more efficient and sustainable use of resources (water, energy and other renewable resources). In addition, the impact of bioeconomy activities and trade on natural resources is quantified.


The Laboratories and Technological Assistance Area carries out analytical and technological activities, technical assistance, consultancy and training, within the framework of projects, agreements or conventions. It participates in research and knowledge transfer projects and provides services to companies in different sectors: meat, dairy, cereals (rice, soft wheat, durum wheat and milling products), bakery products, fruit and vegetables, pulses, honey, oil, eggs, oilseeds and vegetable raw materials (animal feed, fodder).

  • Microbiology and parasitology analysis laboratory

  • Physico-chemical and instrumental analysis laboratory

  • Laboratory for residue, contaminant and metabolite analysis

  • Technological assistance

Work in this area is aimed at the study of food in relation to quality, safety, innovation and health, as well as areas of agro-environmental interest. This area also carries out external auditing of companies that hold the Government of Aragon’s “C’alial” guarantee mark and is the head office of the network of laboratories that coordinates the implementation of the UNE-EN-ISO 17025 Standard for Trichinella testing in high-capacity slaughterhouses in the Autonomous Community of Aragon.