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Facoltā di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Universitā degli Studi di Milano
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General and Environmental Microbiology
Code: G260F-
Teacher:  Lucia Cavalca
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 5
Practices in laboratory:  1
Basic aims:  The course provides basic knowledge on microbial
cytology and metabolism, as well as on methodologies to
study microorganisms. These informations are applied to
microbial processes involved in environmental
bioremediation, in soil biogeochemical cycles, in plant root
Acquired skills:  Knowledge on the structure and physiology of microbial
cells. Practical skills of the principal techniques used in the
bacteriology laboratory. Application of microorganisms in
environmental bioremediation and in the promotion of
plant growth.
Course contents:  Microbial physiology: nutrition, growth and metabolisms.
Principles of microbial genetics. Microbial processes in
environmental bioremediation. Microbial reactions in the
carbon and nitrogen biogeochemical cycles in soil.
Rhizosphere and plant growth promoting microorganisms.
Symbiosis and microbial associations.
Program:  Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell organization. Morphology
an cytology of prokaryotes. Spore formation. Microbial
taxonomy. Bacterial growth: environmental factors,
cultivation of bacteria, sterilization. Methods for the
determination of bacterial growth. Microbial nutrition.
Microbial metabolism: gaining energy for biosynthetic
purposes, aerobic and anaerobic respiration,
fermentation, photosynthesis. Regulation of metabolic
pathways. Microbial genetics. Bacteria at work: water
treatment plants, biodegradation of organic compounds in
environmental bioremediation, heavy metal resistance.
Bacterial metabolisms of Arsenic. Soil as microbial
ecosystem: role of bacteria in biogeochemical cycles of
carbon and nitrogen. The composting process from a
microbiological perspective. Plant roots and microbes
interaction: plant growth promotion, symbiosis process of
nitrogen fixation, mycorrhizae, lichens. Laboratory
practical classes are held during the course.
Prerequisites:  Inorganic and Organic chemistry; Biochemistry
Preparatory instructions:  None.
Learning materials:  Ariel website at UNIMI.
Text books:
-B. Biavati e C. Sorlini. Microbiologia Generale e
Agraria. Volume 1. 2007. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.
-B. Biavati e C. Sorlini. Microbiologia Agroambientale.
Volume 2. 2007. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.
-M.T. Madigan, J.M. Martinko, D.A. Stahl, D.P. Clark.
Brock. Biologia dei microrganismi. Volume 1:
Microbiologia Generale. 2012. Casa Editrice Pearson.
-M.T. Madigan, J.M. Martinko, D.A. Stahl, D.P. Clark.
Brock. Biologia dei microrganismi. Volume 2:
Microbiologia Ambientale e Industriale. 2012. Casa
Editrice Pearson.
Other info:  The language of the course is Italian, but English
speaking students can contact the teacher for
additional information.
The exam consists of an oral examination. A written
test in the course is proposed to the attending
students. This is to ascertain the student's knowledge
about the subject of general microbiology by-choice
answer and open-ended questions. Subsequently the
student, from the contents of the written examination,
will be subjected to an oral examination on the
remaining topics covered in the course.
Program of General and Environmental Microbiology (pdf version)
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