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Facoltā di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Universitā degli Studi di Milano
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Environmental laboratory - environmental microbiology
Code: G570SB
Teacher:  Lucia Cavalca
Year: 
Term: 
CFU: 
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 3
Practices in laboratory:  3
Basic aims:  The course aims to provide students with knowledge regarding the microbial metabolism in relation to some environmental contaminants. The goal is to define the functions of microorganisms in the environment, both from a knowledge of biodiversity in natural resource conservation actions, to the use of microbial metabolism in the environment restoration. The learning of advanced laboratory tools for the analysis of microbial communities and for the evaluation of the persistence and activity of a microorganism introduced into the environment alongside the theoretical study.
Acquired skills:  The student will have the knowledge to define choices in environmental actions involving the use of appropriate microbial biotechnologies. The student will acquire phenotypic and molecular techniques for the study of environmental microbial populations, to process the data obtained and to discuss them in an interdisciplinary team.
Course contents:  Bacterial resistance and metabolism of heavy metals and Arsenic. The microbiological sampling. Methods of analysis and monitoring of environmental microbial communities. Microbiology of the rhizosphere. The endophytic bacteria. The plant growth promoting bacteria. Microbial life in extreme environments: the acid mine drainage. Biological wastewater treatment. The biofilm systems in the water treatment technology. Hydrogen and methane bioreactors. Bioremediation of contaminated sites.
Program:  Lectures (3 credits): Bacterial resistance and metabolism of heavy metals and Arsenic. The microbiological sampling. Methods of analysis and monitoring of environmental microbial communities. Microbiology of the rhizosphere. The endophytic bacteria. The plant growth promoting bacteria. Microbial life in extreme environments: the acid mine drainage. Biological wastewater treatment. The biofilm systems in the water treatment technology. Hydrogen and methane bioreactors. Bioremediation of contaminated sites.
Workshops (3 credits): Safety in microbiology laboratories. Sampling on the site under investigation. Preparation of fractions of rhizosphere soil and rhizoplane. Extraction endophyte cells from the plant tissues. Extracting DNA from rhizosphere soil and plant tissues. Preparation of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and quantitative PCR: 16S rRNA and functional genes. Electrophoresis run on agarose gel. Electrophoresis on acryl amide gels: technique with denaturing gradient (DGGE). Analysis of nucleotide sequences. Phenotypic analysis of a collection of environmental isolates: arsenic resistance, plant growth promotion (siderophores, IAA, EPS, phosphate solubilisation, ACC deaminase). Data analysis and discussion. Preparation of the report.
Prerequisites:  Chemistry-Biochemistry-Microbiology
Preparatory instructions:  None
Learning materials:  Slides of the lectures.
Scietific papers supplied by the teacher.
Microbiologia agroambientale, a cura di Bruno Biavati e
Claudia Sorlini, casa editrice Ambrosiana.
Brock Biologia dei microrganismi 2 - Microbiologia
ambientale ed indistriale, by Madigan et al., Pearson ed.
Other info:  Presentation and discussion of the results obtained during
the environmental laboratory.
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Program of Environmental laboratory - environmental microbiology (pdf version)
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