Water and plant cells: water potential and its components. Thermodynamic principles and modalities of water transport at the cell, whole plant, soil and atmosphere level; water movement through the plant; transpiration. Plant cell growth: biophysics of plant cell growth; biochemistry of cell wall synthesis; tip versus diffuse growth. Plant -pathogen interactions at the level of the cell wall.
Photosynthesis: structure and function of the photosystems; conversion of light into chemical energy. CO2 assimilation: the Calvin cycle; photorespiration; sucrose and starch synthesis; C4 plants; CAM plants. Metabolic control of the carbon cycle. Photosynthetic responses to light, pCO2, temperature and water potential.
Solute transport: passive and active transport, transport of solutes across a lipid membrane; membrane transport proteins (ion pumps, channels and carriers). Long distance transport in the plant: interconnection between xylem and phloem transport.
Assimilation of mineral nutrients: nitrogen and ammonium; biological nitrogen fixation.
Growth and development: structure, transport and physiological effects of plant hormones; their role in cell differentiation and plant movements (tropisms). Photomorphogenesis: phytochrome, blue light receptors.
Suggested text books:
-Taiz, Zeiger, Plant physiology, Sinauer Publishers
-Nobel Biophysical plant physiology and ecology, Freeman Publishers
Prerequisites and examination procedures
Students are expected to have basic knowledge of botany, biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology.
Written exam consists of 10 questions: 6 open and 4 multiple choice questions.
Students following the course will be given the possibility to split the exam into two parts graded separately. The final mark will be the average of the two.
See the Prospectus of studies
PowerPoint-assisted lectures; problem solving on the blackboard and practical experiments in the lab.
It is strongly recommended that the students attend lectures.
Language of instruction
Slides from each lecture and scientific articles discusses during lectures will be available as pdf files at the following internet site: http://ariel.unimi.it/User/Default.aspx