Environmental laboratory

A.Y. 2021/2022
18
Max ECTS
216
Overall hours
SSD
AGR/13 AGR/16 CHIM/06
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
The class "Environmental Laboratory" consists of three disciplines (Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Microbiology and Environmental Biochemistry and Ecotoxicology) which include laboratory activities and lectures aimed at dealing with real cases of contamination and environmental restoration. Research-oriented and problem-solving approaches are applied in the course. Activities of the three subjects are strongly integrated and students learn to work in group and to tackle problems with a multidisciplinary perspective and adequate critical evaluation approach. The course provides the cultural and technical-scientific tools to address the problem of environmental contamination, thus integrating the preparation of the students of the degree course. The students come into contact with external stakeholders thanks to the organization of seminars with environmental management experts and they develop communication skills thanks to the application of flipped learning methods.
Expected learning outcomes
The course will strength students on following topics:
· determination of the distribution of organic and inorganic contaminations in different environmental compartments (water, air, soil, plants) and understanding of the causes;
· utilize analytical techniques for environmental monitoring;
· evaluate the role of plants and microorganisms in environmental processes;
· apply statistical analysis of environmental data.
· frame the cases of contamination in terms of the environmental legislation in force.
Students will acquire practical skills in the use of analytical instruments for the quantification of: organic and inorganic compounds, microflora connected to environmental processes, physiological state of plants. Students will develop soft skills such as public speech, teamwork, critical discussion of scientific data. The skills acquired in environmental remediation, waste treatment and material recovery technologies will allow students to interact with professionals working in the environmental restoration sector.
Course syllabus and organization

Non erogato nell'a.a. 2021/22

Responsible
Lesson period
First semester
The lectures will be delivered either face-to-face and remotely on the Microsoft Teams platform, according to the timetable present on the internet site of the course. The access code of the class ENVIRONMENTAL LABORATORY is available on the Ariel website of the class.
Practical classes will be carried out at the didactic laboratories of the headquarters in via Mangiagalli 25, ground floor (Environmental Chemistry), first floor (Environmental Microbiology) and at Prof. Sacchi's laboratory (Environmental Biochemistry and Ecotoxicology). The required sanitary spacing will be guaranteed. If necessary, students will be able to attend practical classes remotely on the Microsoft Teams platform, class ENVIRONMENTAL LABORATORY.
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 class.
This section is constantly updated. Students are invited to contact the teachers.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge of inorganic and organic chemistry, plant biochemistry and physiology, general microbiology, soil chemistry.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Attending students must submit a report in PDF format containing the results obtained on the considered case-study during practical classes of the three disciplines. After consulting the teachers, the students divide the work by referring to one of the research activities carried out. The exam consists in the presentation and discussion of the content of the report. It is joint for the three modules and it gives rise to the acquisition of 18 CFU.
Students will have to demonstrate that they know the limits and strengths of the analytical techniques learned, know how to contextualize the case study and discuss the data obtained, finalizing them in a proposed remediation intervention. The ability to conduct multidisciplinary work with team spirit will also be assessed.
environmental chemistry
Course syllabus
Lectures: (CFU 1) Measure units. Heavy metals: chemistry and toxicology. Environmental sampling, samples storage. (CFU 2) Spectroscopy: Electromagnetic radiation, Adsorption and emission spectroscopy: principles. Ultraviolet and Visible spectroscopy: instrumentation and applications. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR): theory, instrumentation, chemical shift, spectra of elements other that H and C. (CFU 3) Mass spectroscopy: theory, instrumentation, quadrupole detector, ICP-MS Fundamentals of chromatography: retention time, selectivity, efficiency. Gas chromatography and HPLC, instrumentation, use in the environmental field.
Laboratory activities: (CFU 1) Safety rules in a chemical laboratory. Sampling on the site under investigation. (CFU 2) Sample extraction, separation by HPLC, GC and GC-MS of organic pollutants, quantification by spectrophotometric methods. Soil analysis. (CFU 3) Analysis of heavy metals and other elements by means of ICP-MS. Recording NMR spectra of different nuclei for organic pollutants. Data analysis and final report.
Teaching methods
Lessons, practical classes, field sampling activity, exercises, seminars.
Ariel site with slides of the lectures, scientific papers supplied by the teacher, recorded material.
Attendance is encouraged, but not compulsory.
Lectures, laboratory, exercise activities and presentation of the results will be carried out in Italian. However, the linguistic skills of the individual will be taken into account and if necessary the teaching will be provided in English. The scientific papers provided will be in English.
Teaching Resources
Lessons, practical classes, field sampling activity, exercises, seminars.
Ariel site with slides of the lectures, scientific papers supplied by the teacher, recorded material.
Environmental microbiology
Course syllabus
Lectures (3 credits)
Credit 1: Notes on environmental legislation. The microbiological sampling. Methods of analysis and monitoring of environmental microbial communities. Cell count methods on pollutants, enrichment cultures, microcosms. Environmental genomics: polymerase chain reaction (PCR), quantitative Real Time PCR, clone libraries, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), Sanger sequencing, Illumina sequencing.
Credit 2: Biodegradation of organic pollutants and genetics: monoaromatic hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), aliphatics. Bacterial resistance and metabolism of heavy metals and Arsenic. Rhizosphere and endosphere microbiology: plant growth promoting bacteria, pollutants rhizo-degradation, metal translocation in plants (phytoremediation and food safety).
Credit 3: Bioremediation of contaminated sites. Microbial life in extreme environments: the acid mine drainage. Microbial electrochemical systems: electroactive bacteria, microbial fuel cells, chemicals production from waste biomass. Seminars complete the preparation of the student: private bioremediation companies, public bodies involved in environmental monitoring and managing (ARPA, CNR, park authority, ERSAF).
Practical classes (3 credits): Safety in microbiology laboratories. Sampling on the site under investigation. Preparation and conservation of samples for microbiological and molecular analysis. Total aerobic, anaerobic bacterial plate count, MPN count of pollutant degrading bacteria. Phenotypic characterization of bacterial isolates: resistance to heavy metals and arsenic, mineralization of organic compounds, plant growth promotion (siderophores, IAA, EPS, phosphate solubilisation, ACC deaminase, mobility). DNA extraction from environmental samples. Preparation of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and quantitative PCR (qPCR): 16S rRNA and functional genes. Electrophoresis run on agarose gel. Analysis of nucleotide sequences. Calculations and data processing. Data analysis and discussion. Writing the report.
Teaching methods
− Teaching lessons (24 h). Two hours of frontal lessons are organized by flipped learning method.
− Experimental and field activities, seminars (48 h).
Attendance is encouraged, but not compulsory.
Lectures, laboratory, exercise activities and presentation of the results will be carried out in Italian. However, the linguistic skills of the individual will be taken into account and if necessary the teaching will be provided in English. The scientific papers provided will be in English.
Teaching Resources
Slides and recordings of the lectures, scientific papers on the Ariel site.
Practical classes notes (for attending students).
Text books:
-M.T. Madigan, J.M. Martinko, K.S. Bender, D.H. Buckley, D.A. Stahl. Brock - Biology of microorganisms. 2016, XIV edition. Ed. Pearson.
-B. Biavati e C. Sorlini. Microbiologia Agroambientale. Volume unico. 2008. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana. In Italian.
biochimica ambientale ed ecotossicologia
Course syllabus
Plant stress physiology: molecular and physiological aspects (0.75 CFU)- Approaches for the identification of genetic traits conferring plant tolerance to abiotic stresses (0.25 CFU).
Relationships between environment quality and food security and safety (0.5 CFU)
Plant-soil chemical, biochemical and microbiological interactions (0.5 CFU)
Plant biosensors and bioindicators for monitoring environmental quality (0.5 CFU)
Phytoremediation of contaminated soils and waters: opportunity and limits (0.5 CFU)
Experimental/laboratory activities (3 CFU)
Instrumental analysis techniques for studying: a) plant physiological status (leaf temperature by thermal IR imaging, leaf fluorescence and fluorescence imaging, chlorophyll content sensors, leaf photosynthesis, multi- and hyperspectral sensors); b) soil and plant contents in inorganic and organic pollutants (UV-Vis spectrometry, GC-MS, LC-MS, ICP-MS; C/H/N/S analyzer); d) pollutant fluxes in the framework of soil/plant/air relationships (IRMS-stable isotope ratio spectrometry)
Molecular and biochemical approaches (proteomics, metabolomics, ionomics) for studying plant physiological status and plant efficiency in phytoremediation techniques
Development of field sampling plans for the assessment of the presence of pollutants in soils, waters and plant material
Teaching methods
Frontal teaching (24 h) and experimental (48 h) activities
Each year, together with the students, a real study case is chosen and a specific research, including field and laboratory activities, is chosen. In the last years the following cases have been addressed to: a) natural As contamination of a mountain stream and related effects on downstream soils and vegetation; b) use of plants for the phytoextraction of heavy metals from a polluted agricultural soil; c) phytostabilization and/ phytoremediation of urban soil contaminated by hydrocarbons and heavy metals; d) accidental leakage of oils from a buried pipeline: i) effects on soil and plants (wilds and crops); ii) evaluation of the potential use of plants for stabilization/remediation of the pollution.
Teaching Resources
The course is not covered by a textbook since the latest technologies will be discussed. Inherent material and literature will be provided during the lessons and laboratory activities. The whole teaching material used will be loaded on the ARIEL web site of the teaching unit.
biochimica ambientale ed ecotossicologia
AGR/13 - AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY - University credits: 6
Laboratories: 48 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
environmental chemistry
CHIM/06 - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY - University credits: 6
Laboratories: 48 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
Environmental microbiology
AGR/16 - AGRICULTURAL MICROBIOLOGY - University credits: 6
Laboratories: 48 hours
Lessons: 24 hours