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Facoltà di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Università degli Studi di Milano
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Agrarian Chemistry: Biochemistry and Plant Physiology
Code: G250UA
Teacher:  Luca Espen
Year: 
Term: 
CFU: 
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 6
Basic aims:  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.
Acquired skills:  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.
Course contents:  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. Biosynthesis and degradation of starch and polysaccharides. Photosynthetic pigments. Photosystems, light-harvesting complexes, reaction centers. The Z scheme. Photophosphorylation. C3 and C4 cycles, CAM metabolism. Photorespiration. Ecophysiology of photosynthesis. The water potential. Plasmolysis, cell turgor. Expansion growth. The soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. 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. Solute 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. Plant growth regulators. Description of a few physiological effects of plant growth regulators.
Program:  Aminoacids and proteins. Protein structures.
Principles of bioenergetics and thermodynamics. Enthropy and free energy. Exo- and endo-ergonic reactions; energetically coupled reactions. ATP and phosphor group transfer. Redox reactions. Relationship between deltaE and deltaG. Kinetics of enzymatic catalysis. Michaelis-Menten’s equation. Inhibition and regulation of enzyme-catalyzed reactions. Carbon metabolism. Glycolysis and fermentation. Energy yield of glycolysis. The TCA cycle. Electron flux and oxidative phosphorylation. Mitchell’s chemiosmosis theory. Energy yield of respiration. The pentose-P pathway. The glyoxylate cycle. Biosynthesis and degradation of starch and polysaccharides. Photosynthesis. The electromagnetic spectrum. PAR. Absorption and action spectra. Photosynthetic pigments. Photosystems, light-harvesting complexes, reaction centers. The Z scheme. Photophosphorylation. C3 and C4 cycles, CAM metabolism. Photorespiration. Ecophysiology of photosynthesis. Plants and water. The water potential Plasmolysis, cell turgor. Expansion growth. The soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. 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. Solute transport in plant cells. Chemical and electrochemical potentials. Diffusion, active and passive transport. The Nernsts’ 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" Mineral nutrition. Plant nutrient requirements. Nutrient availability and plant growth. Plant growth regulators. Description of a few physiological effects.
Prerequisites:  Info not available
Preparatory instructions:  General biology; organic chemistry
Learning materials:  •Taiz L., Zeiger E. “Fisiologia Vegetale”, Ed. Piccin Padova •Alpi A., Pupillo P, Rigano C. “Fisiologia delle Piante”, EdiSES, Bologna. •Lehninger A.L., Nelson D.L., Cox M.M. “Introduzione alla biochimica”, Ed. Zanichelli, Bologna.
Slides material on ARIEL
Other info:  Students preparation is tested by an writen text. The exam will deal with the topics developed during the course. The examination will be considered passed if the total score will be 18/30 or more. The grade will be registered by electronic procedure.
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Program of Agrarian Chemistry: Biochemistry and Plant Physiology (pdf version)
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