Microbial biotechnologies applied to plant production

A.Y. 2021/2022
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
More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/22 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
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
-Plant-microbe interactions: mycorrhizic and attinorrhizic symbiosis, nitrogen fixation and nitrogen fixing symbiosis. 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, iii) plant-microbe interactions and bacteria recruitment from plants. Microbial inoculants: production, quality monitoring, agronomical effects
-Microorganisms associated to insects. Symbiotic control of detrimental insects or vectors of phytopathogens
-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: "Modern soil microbiology (3rd edition 2019, editor Van Elsas, Jannson, Trevors, Rosado, Nannipieri)
- 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.
AGR/16 - AGRICULTURAL MICROBIOLOGY - University credits: 6
Laboratories: 8 hours
Lessons: 44 hours
every day by appointment
DeFENS, via Mangiagalli 25, Milano - room 3023