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Facoltà di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Università degli Studi di Milano
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Agricultural Biochemistry and Physiology of Crop Plants
Code: G2609-
Teacher:  Luca Espen
Year: 
Term: 
CFU: 
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 6
Basic aims:  Objective of this course is to give knowledge on biochemical and physiological processes occurring in plants. A main objective will be the study the effects of environmental conditions on these processes. A particular attention will be turn to Crop Plants.
Acquired skills:  This course will give knowledge on the biochemical and physiological processes of plants. These notions will establish a basis for further studies as well as for research activity.
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:  It is very useful the understanding of the notions related to the courses of Agricultural Botany, General and Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, scheduled before the present one during the same 1st year of the Degree Course.
Preparatory instructions:  None formally required.
Learning materials:  Notes from the course lectures. The teacher puts at the students’ disposal a CD-ROM with copy of the transparencies shown during the lessons. - Albert L. Lehninger, David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox Introduzione alla Biochimica. (seconda edizione) 1997. Zanichelli Editore - Alpi P., Pupillo P, Rigano C “Fisiologia delle Piante” EdiSES Bologna. - Taiz L., Zeiger E. Fisiologia Vegetale. IV Edition. 2008. Piccin Nuova Libraria S.p.a. Padova
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 Agricultural Biochemistry and Physiology of Crop Plants (pdf version)
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