To provide basic knowledge on microbial world, mandatory to properly study following microbiology-related courses. Specific attention will be given to agro-food bacteria and microorganisms involved in carbon and nitrogen cycles in soil.
Knowledge of morphology and biochemical structure of bacteria and viruses; methodologies of isolation and identification (by classic and molecular methods) of specific bacteria; knowledge of microbial energetic metabolism; comprehension of the principles supporting ecological adaptation, selection and genetic variability of bacteria.
Introduction to microbiology: living organisms classification; microscopy. Gram test and bacterial cell wall structure. Outer cell elements: capsules, falgelli, cilia, pili. Bacterial endospore. Cell membrane and membrane transport. Microbial growth: nutritional needs, energetic needs, environmental factors (oxygen, osmotic pressure, water activity). Bacterial reproduction: bacterial growth curve. Saccharomyces cerevisiae reproduction. Microbial culture media. The concept of sterility. Counting techniques in microbiology: in direct and direct measurments (total and living counting). Microbial cell metabolism (ATP and its synthesis, electron free transporters, the catabolic processes of respiration and fermentation). Different microbial fermentations of bacteria. Lactic acid bacteria and their metabolism. Acetic acid bacteria and their metabolism. Basic concepts on anabolism. Soil bacteria and rhizosphere (rhizobia, nitrogen fixation, and mycorrhizae). Fungi kingdom (classification based of asexual and sexual reproduction; filamentous fungi; mushrooms). Principles of microbial genetics: the central dogma of biology. Transcriptional regulation. Mutations. Viruses. Plasmids. Genetic recombination in bacteria (transformation, conjugation and transduction). The polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Genetic identification of bacteria (the concept of species in bacteria; 16S rRNA gene; DNA-DNA homology).