Agricultural microbiology

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide fundamental knowledge about cytology and physiology of microorganisms, with emphasis to their role in nature and their use in agricultural biotechnology, in relation to soil fertility, organic matter degradation, and microbial interactions with plants and other biotic and abiotic components of soil ecosystem. Laboratory activity will allow the students to practice the basic techniques to grow and characterize soil and rhizosphere microorganisms.
Expected learning outcomes
Basic knowledge about general and ecological microbiology, in order to understand the role of microbial physiological groups associated with agricultural ecosystem. Knowledge of basic microbiological techniques.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
In case of an public health emergency where traditional face-to-face teaching activities are prohibited, online classes will be taught through videoconferencing using Microsoft teams.
The same criteria will be applied for the laboratory. The topics of the lab activities will change according to the severity of the emergency.
The exams will be held remotely in oral form through Microsoft teams.
Course syllabus
Microbiology in Historical Context, Cell morphology and structure. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms, Cell walls of Bacteria and Archaea, Citoplasmatic membrane and transport, Cell inclusions, Microbial locomotion, Endospores, Bacterial genomes, Methods for manipulating DNA, Fungi, Cultural techniques, Microbial growth and control, Microscopy, Viruses, Gene transfer in Bacteria, Mutations, Microbial biofilms, Microbial symbioses, Plants as microbial habitat, Aerobic respiration, Chemolithotrophy Fermentations, Anaerobic respiration, Phototrophy, Bioremedation, Wastewater treatment and phytodepuration, Human microbiota, Rumen, Hydrogen production, Nutrient cycles.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic understanding of organic chemistry and biochemistry.
Teaching methods
The course has a total of 56 hours of teaching with 40 hours in the class lectures and 16 hours in the laboratory. More details will be provided on the first day of class.
Methods of instruction are lecture format, class discussion, lab experiments and lab reports. All lecture materials will be available on ARIEL web site.
Teaching Resources
All lecture materials will be available on ARIEL web site in PDF format.

Suggested textbooks:
- B. Biavati, C. Sorlini, Microbiologia generale e agraria, editore CEA
- M. Madigan, C. Stahl, Brock Biologia dei microrganismi. Vol. 1 e Vol. 2

The textbooks are available at the university library.
Reading the textbook will help you understand the lecture materials. Unless specifically noted in class, you will not be tested on the topics that are not discussed in the lecture or in the lab.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam will consist of multiple-choice questions based on the lectures and the laboratory.
There will be two tests with 31 multiple-choice questions for each test. If the student attends the laboratory and presents the final report before the second test, then the second test will have 23 multiple-choice questions instead of 31, since a maximum of 8 points will be gained from the laboratory. More details will be provided on the first day of class.

Test #1 -- Test #1 will cover topics from lessons #1 to #12 and it will last 1 hour. The test is possibly held during the teaching break in May ("prova in itinere").
Test #2 -- Test #2 will cover topics from lessons #13 to #20 and it will also last 1 hour.

The final grade will be the average between the two tests.
Students can do the two tests separately or simultaneously.
The dates of the tests will be announced on the first day of class.
AGR/16 - AGRICULTURAL MICROBIOLOGY - University credits: 6
Laboratories: 16 hours
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Villa Federica