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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/77]  PRESERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND THE ENVIRONMENT [77/25 - Ord. 2021]  Gestione dell'ambiente 5 44


The course aims to provide students with the basic and methodological knowledge to understand the role of microorganisms in natural environments and their role in the ecological balance of ecosystems.
Knowledge and understanding: ability to identify and understand the role of microorganisms in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Acquisition of fundamental scientific knowledge concerning environmental microbiology.
Application skills: ability to apply analytical techniques for the analysis of microorganisms in different ecosystems.
Autonomy of judgment: acquisition of conscious autonomy of judgment with reference to the problems of microbial ecology.
Ability to learn: learning the basic concepts of environmental microbiology and methods for analyzing microorganisms in soils and waters from university texts and scientific articles.
Communication skills: ability to present the concepts related to the topics covered with adequate properties of language and scientific terminology.


Solid knowledge of Biochemistry, Genetics and General Microbiology.


Composition, structure and distinctive elements of the prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell. Structure and function of the plasma membrane in prokaryotes. Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria: general characteristics. Structure and synthesis of the peptide. The outer membrane of Grams: lipopolysaccharide and porins. Other types of wall in bacteria. The wall of the Archea.
Biogenesis of bacterial coatings and macromolecule secretion. Sec-dependent and sec-independent secretion systems.
The cytoplasmic organelles. The flagella, the pili, the fimbriae. The capsule and the mucous layers. The bodies of inclusion and the cytoplasm. The movement of microorganisms, the process of chemotaxis. The bacterial endospore: structure and biological significance.
Nutrition and microbial growth. Elemental composition of cells. Nutritional categories. Assimilation of nutrients. Culture media.
Growth of the microbial population. Determination of microorganisms in culture. Microbial growth analysis. Factors affecting microbial growth. Control and inhibition of microbial growth. Antibiotics.
Microbial metabolism and metabolic diversity: phototrophy, chemolithotrophy, anerobic metabolisms, nitrogen fixation, new metabolisms in marine bacteria.
Microorganisms in biogeochemical cycles: carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and iron cycles.
Energy from light. Phototrophs: diversity of phototrophic microorganisms and photosynthetic systems; pigments and photosynthetic membranes; chlorophyll and bacteriochlorophyll; anoxygenic and oxygenic photosynthesis (cyanobacteria). Photosynthetic bacteria. Bacteriumdopsin and primary proton pumps.
Assimilation and biosynthesis. Carbon acquisition: heterotrophy and autotrophy. Assimilation of nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus. Strategies of the biosynthetic pathways.
Molecular biology and bacterial genetics. Organization of genetic material in prokaryotes: the bacterial chromosome and accessory gene elements; the Archea genome.
Recombination mechanisms in prokaryotes.
Horizontal genetic transfer: genetic transformation; the phage transduction process; the conjugation process.
The process of replication, transcription and translation in prokaryotes.
The cell division process in bacteria, fts proteins and divisoma. Breakdown of plasmids. Differentiation in prokaryotes. Differentiation into Caulobacter crescentus.
Elements of Virology. Viroids and prions.
Notes on eukaryotic microorganisms: protozoa, algae, fungi and yeasts.
Microbial evolution: the primordial Earth and the origin of life. Endombiosis.
Microbial biodiversity in the environment: ecological hierarchy (population, community, ecosystem), macro and micro environments, eutrophy and oligotrophy, microbial succession.
Types of interactions: interactions between microbial populations, quorum sensing, biofilm, interactions between microbial and phytoplankton populations, interactions between microbial and animal populations (ruminants, fish, marine invertebrates).
Methods of investigation of microorganisms in natural environments: analysis of microbial communities with cultural and molecular methods, determination of microbial activity in nature. The prokaryotic species. Winogradsky column.
Microbial biodiversity in marine environments: surface waters, sediment, magnetotact bacteria and other adaptations in benthic bacteria, abyssal environments and microbial adaptations to high pressures and oligotrophy, role of bacteria in the lithification of stromatolites, hypersaline environments and adaptations to high salt concentrations, underwater hydrothermal springs and adaptations to high temperatures, frozen environments and adaptations to frozen marine environments, marine hydrocarbon degrading microorganisms and their use in bioremediation.

Teaching Methods

Lectures using the PC and practical exercises

Verification of learning

The final assessment is made through an oral interview and the final grade takes into account the following factors:
Quality of knowledge, skills, competences possessed and / or manifested:
a) appropriateness, correctness and congruence of knowledge
b) appropriateness, correctness and congruence of skills
c) appropriateness, correctness and congruence of skills
Exhibition mode:
a) Expressive capacity;
b) Appropriate use of the specific language of the discipline;
c) Logical skills and consequentiality in the connection of contents;
e) Ability to connect different topics by finding common points and establishing a coherent general design, that is, taking care of the structure, organization and logical connections of the expository discourse;
f) Ability to synthesize also through the use of the symbolism of the material and the graphic expression of notions and concepts, for example in the form of formulas, schemes, equations.
Relational qualities:
Willingness to exchange and interact with the teacher during the interview.
Personal qualities:
a) critical spirit;
b) self-assessment capacity.

Consequently, the judgment can be:
a) Sufficient (from 18 to 20/30)
The candidate demonstrates few acquired notions, superficial level, many gaps. modest expressive skills, but still sufficient to support a coherent dialogue; logical skills and consequentiality in connecting elementary level arguments; poor synthesis skills and rather poor graphic expression skills; poor interaction with the teacher during the interview.
b) Fair (21 to 23)
The candidate demonstrates a fair acquisition of notions, but little depth, few gaps; expressive skills more than sufficient to support a coherent dialogue; acceptable command of scientific language; logical skills and consequentiality in the connection of topics of moderate complexity; more than sufficient capacity for synthesis and acceptable graphic expression capacity.
c) Good (from 24 to 26)
The candidate demonstrates a rather broad knowledge base, moderate in-depth study, with small gaps; satisfactory expressive skills and significant command of scientific language; dialogic ability and critical spirit well noticeable; good synthesis skills and more than acceptable graphic expression skills.
d) Excellent (from 27 to 29)
The candidate demonstrates a very extensive knowledge base, well studied, with marginal gaps; remarkable expressive skills and high command of scientific language; remarkable dialogic ability, good competence and relevant aptitude for logical synthesis; high capacity for synthesis and graphic expression.
e) Excellent (30)
The candidate demonstrates a very extensive and in-depth knowledge base, any irrelevant gaps; high expressive skills and high command of scientific language; excellent dialogue skills, strong aptitude for making connections between different topics; excellent ability to synthesize and great familiarity with graphic expression.
Honors are attributed to candidates clearly above the average, and whose notional, expressive, conceptual or logical limits are, on the whole, completely irrelevant


. Barbieri, G. Bestetti, E. Galli, D. Zannoni MICROBIOLOGIA AMBIENTALE ED ELEMENTI DI ECOLOGIA MICROBICA (2008) Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.
Madigan MT, Martino JM, Parker J. BROCK: BIOLOGIA DEI MICRORGANISMI – 1° e 2° Volume. Casa editrice Ambrosiana
Madigan MT, Martinko JM, Parker J. BROCK: BIOLOGIA DEI MICRORGANISMI.Microbiologia generale, ambientale e industriale. 16th Edition. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.

More Information

Students will be given slides of lectures

Questionnaire and social

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