General and environmental microbiology

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The objective of the course is to provide basic knowledge on microbial cytology and metabolism, as well as on methodologies to study microorganisms. This information is applied to microbial processes involved in environmental bioremediation, water treatment, biomass transformation and in plant-root interactions.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will have:
- Knowledge on the structure and physiology of microbial cells.
- Practical skills of the principal techniques used in the bacteriology laboratory.
- Application of microorganisms in environmental bioremediation and in the promotion of plant growth.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell organization. Morphology and cytology of prokaryotes. Spore formation. Microbial taxonomy. Bacterial growth: environmental factors, cultivation of bacteria, sterilization. Methods for the determination of bacterial growth. Microbial nutrition. Microbial metabolism: gaining energy for biosynthetic purposes, aerobic and anaerobic respiration, fermentation, photosynthesis. Regulation of metabolic pathways. Microbial genetics. Environmental microbiology: wastewater treatment, bioremediation. The composting process. Biological nitrogen fixation. Laboratory practical classes are held during the course.
Topics of practical classes: working in sterility, preparation of culture media, use of optical microscope, methods of microbial count, characterization of bacterial strains.
Prerequisites for admission
Good basic knowledge of biology, chemistry and biochemistry is required.
Teaching methods
Lessons. Practical classes. Educational trips.
Teaching Resources
Lecture notes and videos on the Ariel website of the course.
Lecture notes distributed during practical classes.
Text books:
-B. Biavati e C. Sorlini. Microbiologia Generale e Agraria. Volume unico. 2012. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.
-M.T. Madigan, J.M. Martinko, K.S. Bender, D.H. Buckley, D.A. Stahl. Brock - Biology of microrganisms. 2016, XIV edition. Ed. Pearson.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of an oral examination. A written test in the course is proposed to the attending students and it is composed of 10 by-choice answer and 2 open-ended questions. Subsequently the student, from the contents of the written examination, will be subjected to an oral examination on the remaining topics covered in the course. The outcome of the written test is valid until the beginning of the following academic year.
Examination ascertains the student's knowledge about the subject of general microbiology and microbial metabolism in the agro-environmental processes. The preparation of a practical class report gives rise to additional marks (3 max).
The language of the course is Italian, but English speaking students can contact the teacher for additional information.
AGR/16 - AGRICULTURAL MICROBIOLOGY - University credits: 6
Laboratories: 16 hours
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Cavalca Lucia
Educational website(s)
By appointment
DEFENS-Environmental Microbiology, Via Mangiagalli 25, 3rd floor