In the study carried out by TESAF and CREA, the detailed analysis of the results of scientific research on Sericulture from 2000 to 2020.
“Insects” is an international journal of entomology published by MPD monthly; it is open-access and peer-reviewed.
This article belongs to “Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications”, the special issue that has been already developed during 2021, and recently extended for other six months until the end of June 2022, with the aim of giving a comprehensive overview of the fields and applications for which the silkworm can be exploited.
Bibliometric Analysis of Trends in Mulberry and Silkworm Research on the Production of Silk and Its By-Products
Over the past two decades scientific research on sericulture, the agricultural activity of silk production, generated a great number of outputs in the form of articles reported and classified by one of the most well-known and used database dealing with scientific literature (SCOPUS). This occurrence demonstrates an increasing interest in this sector especially starting from 2000s; results presented in relevant papers showed their applicability even in fields apparently not related to silk production as commonly meant, like medicine, cosmetics, and engineering. To understand how sericulture has been transcending its usual boundaries, which are its current “hotspots”, and links with other fields of study, the authors propose a text-mining based analysis of the outputs of scientific research on sericulture and silk; the final goal is to establish “quantitative” indicators for researchers, entrepreneurs, and scholars.
Traditionally, sericulture is meant as the agricultural activity of silk production, from mulberry (Morus sp.pl.) cultivation to silkworm (Bombyx mori L.) rearing. The aim of the present work is to analyze the trends and outputs of scientific research on sericulture-related topics during the last two decades, from 2000 to 2020. In this work the authors propose a text-mining analysis of the titles, abstracts and keywords of scientific articles focused on sericulture and available in the SCOPUS database considering the above-mentioned period of time; from this article collection, the 100 most recurrent terms were extracted and studied in detail. The number of publications per year in sericulture-related topics increased from 87 in 2000 to 363 in 2020 (+317%). The 100 most recurrent terms were then aggregated in clusters. The analysis shows how in the last period scientific research, besides the traditional themes of sericulture, also focused on alternative products obtainable from the sericultural practice, as fruits of mulberry trees (increment of +134% of the occurrences in the last five years) and chemical compounds as antioxidants (+233% of occurrences), phenolics (+330% of occurrences) and flavonoids (+274% of occurrences). From these considerations, the authors can state how sericulture is an active and multidisciplinary research field.
Due to the renovated high interest in natural fibers (on the SCOPUS database, from 367 document published in 2000 to 1768 document published in 2020), in this work the authors propose a detailed analysis of the outcomes of the scientific research on silk. The results of the analysis showed a high number of documents related to classical themes of silk production, as the quality of silk, the biology of B. mori and the cultivation of M. alba.
The analysis has highlighted some gaps of knowledge in sericulture, in particular a low amount of research is related to the themes of automation of processes. The automation applied to time-consuming tasks as feeding or environmental control in rearing rooms could be successfully carried out through new possibilities offered by the application of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence and constitute an important research field for the future sericulture.
This research was funded by Veneto Region, Measure 16.1-2 Programme of Rural Development for the Veneto Region, 2014-2020-DGR 2175 del 23 December 2016, grant number:55-04/12/2017 SERINNOVATION.
Domenico Giora (1), Giuditta Marchetti (1), Silvia Cappellozza (2), Alberto Assirelli (3), Alessio Saviane (2), Luigi Sartori (1), Francesco Marinello (1).
(1) Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (TeSAF) – University of Padua, Agripolis – Italy
(2) Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment (CREA-AA) – Sericulture Laboratory of Padua, Italy
(3) Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Research Centre for Engineering and Agro-Food Processing (CREA-IT) – Rome, Italy