Agricultural biochemistry and physiology of crop plants

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Objective of this course is
- to give knowledge on biochemical and physiological processes occurring in plants.
- ability to use biochemical and physiological parameters to define the productive potential of plants and their capacity in the responses to environmental conditions.
- tools for conducting scientific research experiences.
Expected learning outcomes
This course will give knowledge on the biochemical and physiological processes of plants. These notions will establish a basis for further studies as well as for research activity.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
Principles of bioenergetics and thermodynamics Kinetics of enzymatic catalysis. Michaelis-Menten's equation. Inhibition and regulation of enzyme-catalyzed reactions.
Glycolysis and fermentation. Energy yield of glycolysis. The TCA cycle. Electron flux and oxidative phosphorylation. Energy yield of respiration. The pentose-P pathway. The glyoxylate cycle.
Photosynthetic pigments. Photosystems, light-harvesting complexes, reaction centers. The Z scheme. Photophosphorylation. C3 and C4 cycles, CAM metabolism. Photorespiration. Biosynthesis and degradation of starch and polysaccharides. Ecophysiology of photosynthesis. The water potential. Plasmolysis, cell turgor.
Water absorption by roots: the apoplastic and symplastic pathways. Transpiration. The lift of the xylem sap in the xylem. Loss of water through the stomata, regulation of stomata opening.
Solute transportin plant cells. Chemical and electrochemical potentials. Diffusion, active and passive transport. The Nernst's equation. Carriers and ion channels. Role of the PM H+-ATPase in secondary active transport.
Translocation in the phloem. Osmotically-generated pressure flow. role of active transport of H+ in sucrose loading and unloading. "Sinks" and "sources".
Plant nutrient requirements. Nutrient availability and plant growth.
The responses to light: phytochrome and blue-light photoreceptors.
Plant growth regulators. Description of a few physiological effects of plant growth regulators.
The responses to abiotic stresses.
Prerequisites for admission
It is very useful the understanding of the notions related to the courses of Agricultural Botany, General and Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, scheduled before the present one during the same 1st year of the Degree Course.
Teaching methods
Teaching Resources
- Taiz L., Zeiger E. Moller I.M. "Elementi di fisiologia vegetale", a cura di M. Maffei - Ed. Piccin Padova
- Lehninger A.L., Nelson D.L., Cox M.M. "Introduzione alla biochimica", Ed. Zanichelli, Bologna
- Slides material on ARIEL
Assessment methods and Criteria
The learning shall be carried out by means of a written test. It is structured in 5 open questions on the different subjects of the course and lasts 1 h.
Each question is evaluated with a score from 0/30 to 6/30. The overall score is given by the sum of each application ones. For the evaluation are considered different aspects, such as the accuracy of the response, the terminology used to define the process and the level of depth of the answer.
AGR/13 - AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Espen Luca
On Fridays from 9.00 to 12.00 or by appointment.
At the office or via MS Teams.