The objective of the course is to get familiar with chemical and biological processes controlling nutrient availability in rhizospheric soil ad root growth. The course is focused on the management of natural and agricultural soils , either fertile or degraded by physical and chemical agents (erosion, salt stress, fire,...)
Knowledge concerning physical, chemical and biological processes controlling rhizospheric soil, both in healthy and degraded soils, exploitable for the management and the improvement of soil fertility.
The first part of the course focuses on the processes that control nutrients transfer from the soil solid phase to the solution near the roots. Then the main endogenous and exogenous factors that regulate root growth and absorption ability are examined, together with the main changes in rhizosphere characteristics induced by root exudates and uptake activity. The roles of non-infectious microorganisms, which may affect the mineral nutrition of plants at different levels (growth and morphology of roots, physiology and development of plants, solubilization or immobilization of nutrients, etc..) are discussed. Nitrogen and iron dynamics in soil are examined, according to the most recent studies. Plant deficiencies of micronutrients are treated, showing micronutrient behavior in soil, the balance between inputs and losses from the soil system, their role in plant nutrition and identifies situations that can cause deficiency symptoms and suggested appropriate interventions to improve productivity. The course includes a general part, treated by the teacher, lectures by students and reading of scientific journal articles in English.t available
Slide presentations of the course and material for classroom presentation