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Facoltā di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Universitā degli Studi di Milano
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General Microbiology
Code: G2904-
Teacher:  Diego Mora
Year: 
Term: 
CFU: 
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 4,5
Practices in laboratory:  0,5
Basic aims:  To acquire basic knowledge on the microbial world. The student should have the basic scientific knowledge to understand the microbial metabolism and to deal with the microbiological problems related to the food area in a critical way.
Acquired skills:  The student should be able to apply the knowledge of the General Microbiology course in a professional way. He must be able to apply a protocol for the isolation and the characterization of microbial strains using standard and innovative microbiological methods.
Course contents:  The microbial world; Prokaryotes and eukaryotes; Cell morphology; Energetic metabolism; Cultural and Environmental needs; The microbial growth; Microbial genetics; Virus; The species concept. The main bacterial groups.
Program:  Objective
The student should acquire a correct view of the
microbial world with a specific attention to the microbial
applications, quality and safety problems realted to the
food area.

Teaching program:
Microorganism definition. Description and use of the
phase-contrast microscope. The procaryotic and the
eucaryotic cell. Description of cell composition and
structures. Composition, structure and function of cell
membrane and cell wall. Description of teichoic-
lipoteichoic acids and exopolysaccharides. The
membrane transport systems. The chemical
composition of the cell and the nutritional
requirements. The composition of a microbiological
media: solid and liquid media. The sterilization
procedure. The microbial growth: the growth in
bacteria and in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Description of the growth curve. Description direct and
indirect methods for microbial count. The energetic
metabolism. The respiratory metabolism and electron
chain transport. Glycolysis, homo- and heterolactic
fermentation and lactic acid bacteria, the TCA cycle,
the ethanol fermentation of S. cerevisiae, the acetic
fermentation, the acetic metabolism and the acetic
bacteria. The anabolism and the definition of
auxotrophy and prototrophy. The anaplerotic reactions.
Principle of microbial genetics: the structure and
composition of DNA and RNA. The DNA replication. The
genetic code. The transcriptional gene organizations.
The RNA synthesis, the protein synthesis. Gene
regulation: example of positive and negative gene-
regulation. The mutations and the mechanisms of gene
repair. Plasmids and virus. The mechanisms of phage
resistance. The horizontal gene transfer mechanisms:
conjugation, transduction and transformation. Principle
of bacterial taxonomy: the species definition, the
polyphasic approach in the species identification. The
16S rRNA gene in the taxonomy of living organisms.
The PCR reaction: principle and applications.
Description of sporeforming bacteria and enteric
bacteria. Fungal taxonomy.

Practical laboratory exercises
During the microbiology laboratory lessons the student
will do practice in isolating pure bacterial culture from
sample of soil, yogurt and fermented meat. The
student will apply the viable count method to evaluate
the total microbial count in the above mentioned
samples. The student will learn to use a phase-contrast
microscope to observe fresh cell suspension of bacteria
and yeasts and to identify the Gram type of the strain
isolated in pure culture for the samples described
above. Moreover, the student will learn how to use
different media in order to test the amylolytic and
proteolytic activities of bacterial cultures.
Prerequisites:  The student should have a good knowledge of inorganic
and organic chemistry and biochemistry
Preparatory instructions:  Biochemistry
Learning materials:  The slides of the teaching lessons and the reference
books are avialable at the web site
http://users.unimi.it/~dmora/WP/.
The teacher is available for further details by fixing an
appointment.
Other info:  The final exam is written and it consists of several timed open
questions for a maximum score of 30/30 cum laude. Additional
information on the evaluation of written exams will be given
during the teaching course.
DOWNLOAD
Program of General Microbiology (pdf version)
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