Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development

MEDIA - Press office ENEA

School: ENEA and FOS Microcosm enters school laboratories

​The ENEA and FOS Microcosm, where crops are grown using less energy, pesticides and resources, has been introduced in schools for the first time. The initiative has involved the laboratories of eight high schools in Sicily, Puglia, Campania, Lombardy and Veneto to test this innovative system which allows to grow crops like potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce and basil even in harsh and unconventional environments, like subway corridors, in shopping mall tunnels, up to spaceships.

Students will be able to follow all stages of cultivation under different environmental conditions, identify and optimize growth parameters, carry out soil and water analyses in continuous crop monitoring and perform pigment extractions for qualitative and quantitative evaluations.

“Microcosm, internationally patented, is an actual hi-tech field simulator capable of reproducing natural growth conditions of plants in the laboratory. It is a tool created for advanced research in agriculture, ecology and agroecology, but its early prototypes showed that this innovative equipment could also have applications in teaching, universities and high schools, as proved by the interest shown by many schools”, explained Luigi d'Aquino, researcher at the ENEA Bioproducts and Bioprocesses Laboratory and inventor of Microcosm.

 “The idea of enriching the educational offer with Microcosm was born from the purpose of stimulating reflection in students on how the agricultural sector can satisfy future generations’ needs, with the help of new digital technologies (artificial intelligence and sensors) without harming the planet's resources and promote the development of issues relating to the energy transition. Furthermore, the educational system should provide students with more opportunities for comparison with local working situations and with a research body of excellence like ENEA and encourage them to study STEM disciplines", pointed out Salvador Tufano, Headmaster of the “Enrico Medi” Industrial Technical Institute of San Giorgio a Cremano (Naples), who purchased the prototype for the school’s environmental and health biotechnology laboratory.

 “The Educational sector is a great source of satisfaction for us. We are very pleased Microcosm is establishing itself as a tool for smart and green training of new generations on sustainability, climate change and the food chain of the future. We are facing great challenges to preserve the planet, feed humans healthy foods and protect the ecosystem. We are honored to make a concrete contribution, jointly with with the ENEA team to researching, studying and marketing new innovative solutions", said Enrico Botte, CEO of FOS spa, a leading company in information technology.

Microcosm was presented at the Didacta Fair by the start-up Piano Green srl, a subsidiary of the FOS Group. “The interest  teachers and students expressed in Microcosm keep us committed to making this technology known, to help train future generation of scholars and researchers,” said Fabienne Moretta, CEO of Piano Green.


For more information please contact:

Luigi d’Aquino, ENEA - Bioproducts and Bioprocesses Laboratory,

Fabienne Moretta, CEO of Piano Green,