Agricultural chemistry

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Unit 1: To give the basis for the knowledge of the physiological and biochemical mechanisms of plants with particular attention to metabolism, photosynthesis, mineral nutrition and water relationship.
Unit 2: Soil characteristic to define soil fertility and soil use producing crops. Students wil acquire information about soil fertility in order to define a fertilization plan.
Expected learning outcomes
Unit 1: The course of Biochemistry and Plant Physiology completes the knowledge acquired in the first year. In particular it will give competence on the structure, organization and function of the plant system both at the physiological and biochemical level and on the interaction with the environment.
Unit 2: Knowledge of chemical, physical and biological properties of soil and their relationships. Soil analysis interpretation and predisposition of a fertilizer plan.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Teaching methods
The lectures will be delivered remotely on the Microsoft Teams platform. For both modules there will be two meetings in the presence that will be dedicated to the deepening of some specific topics as well as to the verification of learning.
The exams will be conducted remotely on the Microsoft Teams platform.
All information regarding the teaching activities as well as the assessment methods will be available on the Ariel website of the course.
Prerequisites for admission
It is very useful that the student has acquired knowledge and understanding of the notions related to the courses of Botany, General and Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The learning shall be carried out by means of a two test.

Teaching unit: biochemistry and plant physiology
The oral examination is structured in 5 open questions on different subjects of the course and lasts 30 minutes. Each question is evaluated with a score from 0/30 to 6/30. The overall score is given by the sum of each application ones. For the evaluation are considered different aspects, such as the accuracy of the response, the terminology used to define the process and the level of depth of the answer.
Teaching unit: Agricultural chemistry
The written test consisting in 3 open questions and 5 multi-choice questions. Each open question will be evaluated with a score from 0/30 to 5/30 while the multi choice will be evaluated with a score from 0/30 to 3/30. The overall score is given by the sum of each score.
Plant physiology and biochemistry
Course syllabus
Principles of bioenergetics and thermodynamics Kinetics of enzymatic catalysis. Michaelis-Menten's equation. Inhibition and regulation of enzyme-catalyzed reactions.
Glycolysis and fermentation. Energy yield of glycolysis. The TCA cycle. Electron flux and oxidative phosphorylation. Energy yield of respiration. The pentose-P pathway. The glyoxylate cycle.
Photosynthetic pigments. Photosystems, light-harvesting complexes, reaction centers. The Z scheme. Photophosphorylation. C3 and C4 cycles, CAM metabolism. Photorespiration. Biosynthesis and degradation of starch and polysaccharides. Ecophysiology of photosynthesis. The water potential. Plasmolysis, cell turgor.
Water absorption by roots: the apoplastic and symplastic pathways. Transpiration. The lift of the xylem sap in the xylem. Loss of water through the stomata, regulation of stomata opening.
Transport in plant cells. Chemical and electrochemical potentials. Diffusion, active and passive transport. The Nernst's equation. Carriers and ion channels. Role of the PM H+-ATPase in secondary active transport.
Translocation in the phloem. Osmotically-generated pressure flow. role of active transport of H+ in sucrose loading and unloading. "Sinks" and "sources".
Plant nutrient requirements. Nutrient availability and plant growth.
The secondary metabolism.
Plant growth regulators. Description of a few physiological effects of plant growth regulators.
The responses to abiotic stresses.
Teaching methods
Teaching Resources
- Taiz L., Zeiger E. Moller I.M. Plant Physiology and Development, Sixth Edition. ISBN-13: 978 1605353531
- Slides available on ARIEL website
Soil chemistry
Course syllabus
The course introduces what soil is and which is its role in plant growth. Course will consider the different soil constituents and their role in defining soil fertility. In particular, all aspects relating to the soil will be studied: physical-chemical aspects such as pH and redox potential Cation-exchange capacity
and adsorption. Air-soil and water-soil interaction will also be studied. Microelements and nutrients present in the soil will also be considered as well as the biological aspects of the soil and the biogeochemical cycles.
Teaching methods
Teaching Resources
Text book:
- Chimica Agraria, Violante, EDAGRICOLE
- Fondamenti di chimica del suolo, Sequi, Ciavatta, Miano; Pàtron Editore
- Slides available on Ariel webside
Plant physiology and biochemistry
AGR/13 - AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Espen Luca
Soil chemistry
AGR/13 - AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY - University credits: 4
Lessons: 32 hours
On Fridays from 9.00 to 12.00 or by appointment.
At the office or via MS Teams.