Soil Sciences and Plant Physiology

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
AGR/13 AGR/14
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide:
- knowledge of the characteristics of the soil and its main functions, both agronomic and in relation to its vulnerability;
- basic knowledge of soil formation processes; description of the soils and surrounding environments; interpretation of the characteristics and of the chemical and physical parameters of soils and of the classification criteria of the main international taxonomic systems; evaluation of anthropogenic influences on soils and physical landscapes. Notes on the geography of soils. Methods for evaluating land potential;
- tools for understanding the fundamental biochemical and physiological processes that underlie the life cycle of plants. Particular attention will be paid to the effects / responses of plants to environmental conditions.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student should have acquired:
- knowledge of the chemical, physical and biological aspects of the soil and their relationships. Laboratory activities for the determination of the main characteristics of agricultural soils;
- skills necessary for a correct use of descriptive, analytical and cartographic data concerning soils and their relationships with vegetation, lithological substrates, geomorphic processes in rural areas and natural environments in which they were generated and evolved;
- notions of biochemistry and physiology of cultivated plants. The acquired knowledge will form the basis for future investigations and for carrying out research activities.
Overall, the student will be able to communicate this knowledge in written and oral form and will have acquired the essential bases for the application of the scientific process. The student will also be able to independently undertake new studies aimed at deepening the knowledge of soil science and the biochemistry and physiology of plant organisms.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
The lessons will be delivered using the Microsoft Teams platform, partly synchronous and partly asynchronous. Compatibly with the laws and regulations, some face-to-face meetings will be held aimed at discussing program topics. The laboratory exercises of soil chemistry will take place in small groups. All detailed information will be posted on the Ariel website which is recommended to be consulted frequently. The practical exercises of soil mapping will take place will be delivered using the Microsoft Teams platform, synchronous with recording, also in this case one face-to-face meeting will be held aimed at discussing program topics.
The exams oral and/or written will be conducted remotely on the Microsoft Teams platform.
All detailed information will be posted on the Ariel website which is recommended to be consulted frequently.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge of inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and botany.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Soil chemistry
The exam will be held remotely in written form using the Microsoft Teams platform. 3 questions will be submitted: on the basis of the data provided, the student will have to formulate a fertilization or amendment plan + 2 open questions. A maximum score of 10 points will be applied to each question. The vote is expressed out of thirty

The exam, currently held remotely using the Microsoft Teams platform, will be oral with questions relating to the topics of the lectures, at the end of which a mark expressed out of thirty will be recorded. Honors will be given when the level of preparation is more than excellent. The final evaluation will consider the acquired knowledge (60%) and the ability to organize and illustrate the arguments (30%) and the expository skills (10%).

Agricultural biochemistry and physiology of crop plants
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.

The final mark is calculated by using the weighted average, that is depending from the number of credits, of the votes obtained in the single modules.
Chimica del suolo
Course syllabus
Soil definition: the soil as an open system.
The main soil functions: productive function, protective function, naturalistic function.
The soil as a three-phase system: solid, liquid and gas phase.
Minerals and rocks: non-silicate minerals, classification and structure of silicate minerals. Processes of mineral alteration. -Alteration of phyllosilicates: clays. Structure of clays: 1: 1 clays, 2: 1 clays, heterovalent isomorphic substitutions.
The soil physical properties: real and apparent texture, structure, density and porosity.
Organic matter: non-humic component and humic component, accumulation and consumption processes in relation to soil fertility. Role in soil fertility.
Soil chemical properties: adsorption and exchange: main theories; the characteristics and composition of the soil exchange complex, degree of basic saturation, specific and non-specific cationic and anionic adsorption.
The soil / water ratios.
Soil / air relationships: soil as a respiratory system.
Red-ox potential of the soil.
pH current and potential. Acid, saline, sodium, submerged soils. Soils with abnormal pH and their correction. Biogeochemical cycles: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur and other meso and micro elements in relation to availability in the soil.
Fertilizers, soil improvers and corrective agents.
Fertilization plans.
Soil analysis with laboratory exercises.
Teaching methods
Basic knowledge of inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry.
Teaching Resources
Principles of Soil Chemistry, CRC Press; Author: Kim H. The book is available at the library of the faculty. Slides on ARIEL
Course syllabus
Structure and composition of the Earth and the Earth's crust.
The main silicate and non-silicate minerals. Clay minerals.
Tectonic principles.
Geomorphological forms and processes in mountain and hilly areas.
Classification and properties of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. -The pedological profile: horizons, pedogenetic figures and bodies, campaign description cards, laboratory-soil analytical cards.
Fundamental features of Soil Taxonomy.
Basic and applied cartography of the soils of Lombardy.
Teaching methods
Lectures + classroom exercises for the cartography part.
Teaching Resources
Course lecture notes and bibliography indicated.
Biochimica agraria e fisiologia delle piante coltivate
Course syllabus
Credit I: Principles of bioenergetics and thermodynamics Kinetics of enzymatic catalysis. Michaelis-Menten's equation. Inhibition and regulation of enzyme-catalyzed reactions.

Credit II: Glycolysis and fermentation. Energy yield of glycolysis. The TCA cycle. Electron flux and oxidative phosphorylation. Energy yield of respiration. The pentose-P pathway.

Credit III: 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.

Credit IV: 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.

Credit V: 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. Plant mineral nutrition.

Credit VI: The responses to light: phytochrome and blue-light photoreceptors. 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 on ARIEL
Biochimica agraria e fisiologia delle piante coltivate
AGR/13 - AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Prinsi Bhakti
Chimica del suolo
AGR/13 - AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY - University credits: 6
Laboratories: 16 hours
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Tambone Fulvia
AGR/14 - PEDOLOGY - University credits: 4
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
Professor: Trombino Luca
Tuesday 14:00 - 16:00. Friday 14:00 - 16:00. By appointment for other days. You are kindly requested to send an email to schedule the appointment.
At the office (with green-pass for COVID-19) or on-line on Microsoft Teams.
appointment by e-mail
DiSAA - soil chemistry section - I Floor
On appointment
In my office, Via Mangiagalli 34, 2nd floor, room 77