Soil and subsoil microbiology

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide knowledge to:
- Distinguish peculiarities of microorganisms in soil, rhizosphere and in subsoil.
- Understand relationships between microorganisms and higher organisms in agro-ecosystems.
- Recognize the role of microorganisms in biogeochemical cycles.
- Assess the applications of microorganisms in agro-environmental processes.
- Estimate the impact of human activities on the environmental microbiota.
- Perform soil microbiology and basic molecular biology analyses and be able to interpret analytical results.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student is able to:
- understand the role of microbial metabolisms in complex environmental processes.
- perform laboratory analyses of soil microbiology and basic molecular biology.
- be able to contextualize data in a multidisciplinary environment.
- work in a group.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
The lectures will be delivered remotely on the Microsoft Teams platform. The class access code is available on the Ariel website of the course.
The practical exercises will be carried out at the didactic laboratories of the headquarters in via Mangiagalli 25, first floor. The required sanitary spacing will be guaranteed. If necessary, students will be able to attend practical classes remotely on the Microsoft Teams platform.
The educational trips will be conducted in compliance with the rules of sanitary spacing.
Oral exams will be conducted remotely on the Microsoft Teams platform. The access code is available on the Ariel website of the course.
Course syllabus
Microbial ecology: soil habitat, rhizosphere (bacteria and mycorrhizae), deep subsurface and interactions with groundwater, extreme environments. Biogeochemical cycles: the environmental redox scale in the definition of microbial metabolisms related to C, N, S, P, Fe, metals and metalloids. Organic matter biodegradation and creation of soil fertility. Impact of human activities on environmental microbiota: fecal contamination, use of antibiotics. Ecosystem services of microorganisms in sustainable agriculture practices. Bio-fertilizers and microbial inocula. Elements of biological control.
Practical classes
Metabolic characterization of soil microbial communities: Molecular identification of a microbial strain.
Prerequisites for admission
Knowledge of soil chemist and of general microbiology.
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 (only for attending students)
Collection of scientific articles provided by the teacher and present on the Ariel website of the course.
Text books:
-B. Biavati e C. Sorlini. Microbiologia Agroambientale. Volume unico. 2008. 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
Oral presentation of a bibliographic review on topics chosen in agreement with the teacher and discussion in light of the course content and laboratory exercises.
The presentation of the laboratory work gives rise to an additional score between 1 and 3 thirtieths.
Non-attending students will perform the examination with oral presentation of the contents of a bibliographic review on topics chosen in accordance with the teacher and discussion in light of the teaching content.
AGR/16 - AGRICULTURAL MICROBIOLOGY - University credits: 4
Laboratories: 8 hours
Lessons: 28 hours
By appointment
DEFENS-Environmental Microbiology, Via Mangiagalli 25, 3rd floor
By arranging an appointment
Via Mangiagalli 25, 20133 Milano, 3° floor