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Facoltà di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Università degli Studi di Milano
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Plant Physiology and Biochemistry
Code: G271H-
Teacher:  Gian Attilio Sacchi
Year: 
Term: 
CFU: 
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 8
Basic aims:  Aims of the course are to fornish tool for understanding the basic biochemical and physiological processes involved in the life cycle of plants with particular regards for the aspects establishing crop yield and adaptation to biotic stress and/or resources scarcity.
Acquired skills:  The student other than to known both the biochemical and physiological basis of plant function and crop yield will be able to understand how genetic and environmental factors can affect these factors. Mainly, he/she will be able to identify biochemical and physiological bottle-necks of quali- and quantitative yield traits in a view of sustainable and low-input agriculture.
Course contents:  Life molecules - Bioenergetics – Enzymes –Carbon metabolism - Water in plant life – Photosynthesis - Photosynthesis: physiological and ecological considerations - Translocation in the phloem - Mineral nutrition and transmembrane solute transport - Assimilation of mineral nutrients – Photomorphogenesis – Plant hormones
Program:  LIFE MOLECULES
Amino acids, peptides, and proteins; the three-dimensional structure of proteins, carbohydrates and glycobiology; lipids; nucleotides.

BIOENERGETICS
Bioenergetics and thermodynamics; phosphoryl group transfers and ATP; biological oxidation-reduction reactions; electrochemical potential.

ENZYMES
Catalysis; an Introduction to Enzymes; how enzymes work; enzyme kinetics; regulatory enzymes

METABOLISM
Glycolysis; the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway; the citric acid cycle; mitochondrial electron transport and ATP synthesis (oxidative Phosphorylation); respiration in intact plants and tissues; lipid Metabolism; fatty acid catabolism.

WATER IN PLANT LIFE
The structure and properties of water; diffusion and osmosis; water potential; water potential of plant cells; water in soil, water absorption by roots; water transport through the xylem; water movement from the leaf to the atmosphere (driving force for transpiration, stomatal movement, stomatal control); the soil–plant–atmosphere continuum; water balance of plants.

PHOTOSYNTHESIS
The light reactions: photosynthetic pigments; organization of the photosynthetic apparatus; organization of light-absorbing antenna systems; mechanisms of electron transport; proton transport and ATP synthesis in the chloroplast
The carbon reactions: the Calvin-Benson cycle; regulation of the Calvin-Benson cycle; the C2 oxidative photosynthetic carbon cycle (photorespiration); the inorganic carbon concentrations mechanisms: the C-4 carbon cycle and the crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM); accumulation and portioning of photosynthates – starch and sucrose.

PHOTOSYNTHESIS: PHYSIOLOGICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Photosynthetic responses to light by the intact leaf; photosynthetic responses to temperature, photosynthetic responses to carbon dioxide.

TRANSLOCATION IN THE PHLOEM
Pathways of translocation; patterns of translocation: source to sink; materials translocated in the phloem; the pressure-flow model, a passive mechanism for phloem transport; phloem loading; phloem unloading; sink-to-source transition.

MINERAL NUTRITION AND SOLUTE TRANSPORT
Essential nutrients, deficiencies and plant disorders; passive and active transport; transport of ions across membrane; membrane transport processes; membrane transport proteins.

ASSIMILATION OF MINERAL NUTRIENTS
Nitrate assimilation; ammonium assimilation; sulfur assimilation; phosphate assimilation; cation assimilation; oxygen assimilation.

PLANT DEVELOPMENT
Photomorphogenesis: the photochemical and biochemical properties of phytochrome; characteristics of phytochrome-induced response
Plant hormones: Effects and mode of action.
Prerequisites:  Knowledge in: Plant Biology; Inorganic Chemistry; Organic Chemistry
Preparatory instructions:  None
Learning materials:  David L Nelson, Michael M Cox "Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry"

L. Taiz and E. Zeiger "Plant Physiology"
Other info:  Mid-term examination
Final oral examination
DOWNLOAD
Program of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry (pdf version)
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