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Facoltā di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Universitā degli Studi di Milano
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Agricultural Botany
Code: G260IC
Teacher:  Simon Pierce
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 6
Practices in classroom: 1
Practices in laboratory:  1
Basic aims:  The course aims to improve knowledge of plant biology, and includes prokaryotic organisms, fungi and algae to angiosperms. In particular, it will deal with the plant cell, tissues (histology) and anatomy of plant organs, and reproductive structures and strategies. A component of systematic botany will mainly focus on spermatophytes, with emphasis on plant families and species of agronomic, food and medicinal relevance.
Acquired skills:  The course allows the identification and description of plant systems at ultrastructural, microscopic and morphological levels, and allows basic understanding of biodiversity as a first step in its conservation.
Course contents:  I.The fundamentals of Biology,
II. Cytology (cell biology),
III. Histology and Plant Anatomy,
IV. The Basics of Systematic Botany (General classification of plants),
V. The Basics of Systematic Botany (special part),
VI. Practical laboratory work
Program:  I.The fundamentals of Biology: Characteristics of Living Organisms: autotrophy and heterotrophy; the role of plants in the biosphere. The chemistry of living things. Key chemical bonds. Water and life. The main organic molecules in biology. Structure and function of carbohydrates, lipids and products of secondary metabolism, proteins, nucleotides and nucleic acids. II. Cytology (cell biology) - general characteristics of the cell. Procaryotes and Eucaryotes. The components of the eucaryotic cell. Typical structure of the plant cell (cell walls, plastids, vacuole). Genetic information and the cell cycle. Replication and transcription; translation and protein synthesis. Genes and chromosomes, genotype and phenotype. Mitosis and Meiosis. III. Histology and Plant Anatomy. Structural organisation of the plant. Thallus and Corm.Meristematic tissues. Adult tissues. Vegetative organs of higher plants: roots, stems and leale. Reproductive organs of higher plants. IV. The Basics of Systematic Botany (general part). General classification of plants. Metagenetic cycles. Vegetative propagation and sexual reproduction. Principal groups of cryptogams: algae, fungi, lichens, bryophytes and pteridophytes. Characteristics of the spermatophytes: Gymnosperms and Angiosperms. Principal differences between Monocotyledons and Dicotyledons. V. The Basics of Systematic Botany (special part). Monocots: Poaceae, Liliaceae, Iridaceae, Amaryllidaceae. Dicots: Salicaceae, Juglandaceae, Fagaceae, Chenopodiaceae, Brassicaceae, Capparaceae, Rosaceae, Fabaceae, Apiaceae, Oleaceae, Rutaceae, Vitaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Lamiaceae, Solanaceae, Asteraceae. VI. Practical laboratory work involving observation using the optical microscope and the preparation of histological and anatomic samples. Techniques for the recognition of species by the observation of reproductive and vegetative characters.
Prerequisites:  A basic, high-school level, knowledge of general chemistry and biology is required.
Preparatory instructions:  No other prerequisites
Learning materials:  Essential teaching material will be distributed by the lecturer. Useful texts:
Pasqua G. et al., 2008 - Botanica Generale e diversitā vegetale. Piccin ed.;
Calzoni G.L., Speranza A. , 1996 - Struttura della piante in immagini. Guida all'anatomia microscopica delle piante vascolari - Zanichelli, Bologna.
Gerola F.M. (a cura di), Biologia e diversitā dei vegetali, UTET. Judd, Campbell, Kellogg, Stevens - Botanica sistematica, un approccio filogenetico - PICCIN
Longo C., Biologia vegetale Vol. 1 Forme e funzioni - Utet Lüttge U., Kluge M., Bauer G., 1997 - Botanica - Zanichelli, Bologna.
Pupillo P., Cervone F., Cresti M., Rascio N., 2003 - Biologia Vegetale - Zanichelli Raven P.H., Evert R.F., Eichorn S.E., 2002 - Biologia delle piante. VI edizione - Zanichelli, Bologna.
Ray P.M., Steeves T.A., Fultz S.A, 1985 - Botanica - Zanichelli, Bologna. Venturelli F., Virli L., 1995 - Invito alla Botanica, con esercitazioni di laboratorio - Zanichelli, Bologna. Useful links: http://www.biologie.uni-hamburg.de/b-online/e00/default.htm
Other info:  The exam is written and is comprised of multiple choice questions and a short essay.

Minor variations to the course contents are possible, based on the prior knowledge of the students. Active participation (not just attendence) is recommended. All requests for information and further explanations are welcome. For the practical laboratory work groups of 30 students will be organised at the start of the course. Attendence of lab work will be registered. For further information please contact the lecturer.
Program of Agricultural Botany (pdf version)
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