Microbial biotechnologies applied to plant production

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course will provide to the students current knowledge on the state of the art and developing perspectives about microbial biotechnologies for plant growth promotion, soil fertility and crop protection. Environmental biotechnologies applied to bioremediation, wastewater treatment and the disposal or valorisation of agricultural waste biomasses will be also outlined. Laboratory lessons will allow students to acquire practical experience on qualitative and quantitative tests for the evaluation of plant growth promoting microorganisms.
Expected learning outcomes
The course will provide basic and analytical knowledge necessary to elaborate and discuss a proper evaluation of potentials and limits of the application of microbial biotechnologies for plant production.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
First lesson will take place on September 29th at room G12. Who will not have the possibility to come in the faculty to meet the teacher will have anyway the possibility to participate to the lesson transmitted in streaming through Microsoft Teams. The first in-presence lesson will be also recorded. Laboratory lessons scheduled for September 29th are cancelled. More information will be communicate during the first lesson. Lectures and seminars will be mainly held online using the Microsoft Teams platform (Teams'code: gntkpwq). In few cases, to replace synchronous lessons, asynchronous audio or video recorded lessons will be provided. Three in-person lectures and 1 laboratory lesson will be held at the University according to all safety rules. More details will be provided during the semester.
Exam: the written part of the exam could be replaced by oral exam according to the safety rules for covid emergency. For attending students: individual and group tests will be carried out during the course with the aim of verifying the students' preparation, also in relation to the laboratory activities.
Please, check the Ariel page of the course for further updates.
Course syllabus
-Microbial identification and study of environmental microbial communities (microbial ecology methods)
-Role of microorganisms in soil formation, fertility maintenance and cycle of organic matter. Soil microbiota, rhizosphere, phyllosphere
-Association between plants and microorganisms: mycorrhizic and attinorrhizic simbiosis, nitrogen fixiation and nitrogen fixing simbiosis. Nodule formation
-Plant Growth Promoting Microorganisms: i) microbial mechanisms of direct plant promotion, biostimulation and biofertilisation, ii) microbial mechanisms of indirect plant promotion, antagonistic microorganisms. Microbial inoculants: production, field application, agronomical effects
-Microorganisms associated to insects. Symbiotic control of detrimental insects or vectors of phytopathologies
-Microbial biotechnologies for plant biomass transformation and disposal: anaerobic digestion, sludge treatment.
-Soil bioremediation. Rhizoremediation
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge in general and agricultural microbiology is required
Teaching methods
5.5 CFU lessons
0.5 CFU laboratory lessons
Teaching Resources
- Book: "Microbiologia agroambientale", a cura di Biavati & Sorlini. 2008 Ed. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana
- Book: "Microrganismi benefici per le piante", a cura di M. Iaccarino. 2006 Ed. Idelson-Gnocchi
- Slides of lecture provided by teachers as electronic file (pdf)
- Scientific publications
Assessment methods and Criteria
The final examination is written and aims to verify the knowledge acquired by the student. The student is required to answer to three open questions in a maximum time of 1.5 h. Questions refer to the topics presented during lessons. Examples of the questions will be provided during the lessons. For attending students: individual and group tests will be carried out during the course, using the Moodle and/or Microsoft Teams platforms, to monitor the students' knowledge and elaboration abilities also in relation to the laboratory activities.
AGR/16 - AGRICULTURAL MICROBIOLOGY - University credits: 6
Laboratories: 8 hours
Lessons: 44 hours
every day by appointment
DeFENS, via Mangiagalli 25, Milano - room 3023