Fundamentals of plant biology and yield

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
AGR/13 AGR/19
Learning objectives
"The educational objective of the course is to provide students the knowledge of plant and animal biology which are
necessary for the understanding of the physiological, morphological and technological characteristics of food produts of plant and animal origin."
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the students will know: i) the structure, location and function of the different molecules present in plant and animal matrices; ii) the biological processes of seed and fruit development; iii) the main products of animal origin (milk and meat) from a nutritional point of view; iv) the factors that affect plant and animal production.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
Plant part:
Plants in the biosphere. Plant-derived products as a food. Energy metabolism: autotrophy and eterotrophy. Chemical bonds.Chemical-physical characteristics of water. Structure and function of biological molecules: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids. The cell theory. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. The components of the eukaryotic cell: cytoplasm, cell membranes, nucleus, mitochondria, ribosomes, microbodies, spherosomes, cytoskeleton. The plant cell. Plastids: genesis, structure and functions. The vacuole: genesis, structure and functions. The cell wall: genesis, structure and functions. Biochemical traits of the plant cells linked to the organoleptic properties of plant-derived foods. DNA replication and transcription. The genetic code. Translation and protein synthesis. Genes and chromosomes. Mitosis and cell division in plant cells. Meiosis and its evolutionary meaning. Life cycle of the Angiosperms. Flowers. Micro- and macrosporogenesis, micro- and macrogametogenesis. Pollination and fertilization. Seed and fruit development. Storage compounds in seeds: chemical composition, functions, localization and nutritional characteristics in the systematic groups of greatest importance as a food. A few aspects of seed anatomy and germination important in food processing. Different kinds of fruit of greatest importance as a food. Climacteric and non-climacteric fruits. Vascular plants: morpho-physiological adaptations linked to dry-land habitat. Meristems and differentiated tissues. Tissue systems. Tegumental tissues: epidermis and stomata; opening and closing of stomata; trichomes; root epidermis, exodermis, endodermis. Secondary tegumental tissues. Parenchyma, collenchyma and sclerenchyma. Vascular tissues: xylem and phloem. The plant body. Roots: primary and secondary structure. Storage roots. Roots used as foods. Stems: primary structure. Modified stems: bulbs, tubers, rhyzomes. Stems used as foods. Leaves: anatomy and functions. Leaf vegetables as foods.
Animal part:
Animal Biology: typical structures of the animal cell, basics of digestive system and digestion in monogastric and polygastric animal. Basics of lactation physiology. Animal Nutrition. Feed for animal feeding: fodder and concentrates. Quality of animal products (milk fat and fiber, milk protein and energy, mycotoxins, BSE, organic food).
Milk production: Influence of genetic, animal feeding and environmental factors on the qualitative and quantitative production of milk and effect on derivatives (cheese making and DOP products). Dairy cattle breeds and genetic improvement. Breeding and rationing techniques for dairy cattle and effect on the quality of milk and dairy products. Legislation relating to milk production (Milk Quotas, payment of quality milk, milk legislation).
Meat production: Evaluation of animals at the slaughterhouse. Beef cattle breeds. Genetic, animal nutrition, environmental factors and qualitative and quantitative production of beef meat. Genetic type and breeding techniques and effects on the quality of meat and derivatives (cured meats and PDO products). Regulations concerning the production of meat and products.
Prerequisites for admission
Teaching methods
Both modules are delivered in the classroom, with some exercises performed in the classroom (viewing of photographs and useful videos).
It is possible to visit the Ariel sites dedicated to the two modules:
Vegetable Productions -
Animal Production -
Teaching Resources
Lesson notes of the courses. The teaching material shown in class will be available by the teachers, means of Ariel 2.0 e-learning platform.
Plant and Animal Biology:
P. H. Raven, G. B. Johnson, K.A. Mason, J.B. Losos, S.R. Singer. Elementi di Biologia e genetica, Piccin. ISBN: ISBN: 978-88-299-2950-4
E. P. Solomon, C. E. Martin, D. W. Martin, L. R. Berg. Biologia. Edises. ISBN: 9788879599405
D. Sadava, D. M. Hillis, H. Craig Heller, S. D. Hacker. Biologia, Zanichelli.
Plant production:
G. Pasqua, G. Abbate, C. Forni: Botanica generale e diversità vegetale, Piccin. ISBN: 978-8829920600
Animal production:
A. Giussani. Il latte di qualità. Allevamento, alimentazione e mungitura delle bovine. Edagricole. ISBN: 978-8850651375
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam takes place in 2 parts (First and Second Test), in written mode, to be performed separately, lasting 2 hours each, in separate days and moments.
Unit 1
AGR/13 - AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY - University credits: 0
AGR/19 - ANIMAL SCIENCE - University credits: 0
Practicals: 8 hours
Lessons: 36 hours
Professor: Giorgi Annamaria
Unit 2
AGR/13 - AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY - University credits: 0
AGR/19 - ANIMAL SCIENCE - University credits: 0
Practicals: 8 hours
Lessons: 36 hours
Professor: Tamburini Alberto
by appointment (send an email)
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali (sezione Zootecnica) via Celoria 2 Milano