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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/56]  INDUSTRIAL BIOTECHNOLOGY [60/56-00 - Ord. 2014]  PERCORSO COMUNE 6 60


The main goal is to gain a basic understanding on the kinetics of the growth in suspension of microorganisms and the corresponding nutrient consumption, from the theoretical perspectives (by application of the prime principles of conservation). In particular, students will learn to understand and manage basic mathematical equations used to quantitatively study microbial growth kinetics and the rationale running of standard biological reactors.

Knowledge and understanding: the Laboratory aims to provide the theoretical and practical background knowledge for the study and application of industrial and environmental bioengineering processes.
Applying knowledge and understanding: the activities planned in the laboratory will enable students to know and understand the operations necessary for the preparation and management of reactors at lab scale, become familiar with the equipment present in a chemical laboratory environmental, applying the analytical protocols foreseen for the quantification of some chemical-physical parameters.
Making judgements: at the end of the laboratory the student will be able to process and critically interpret the results obtained by instrumental analysis.
Learning skill: at the end of the laboratory, students will be able to lead and manage a standard bioreactor.


It is highly recommended that the following courses were already taken: Math, Phisycs, Phisico-Chemistry. A basic knowledge of a data treatment software as Microsoft Excel or Microcalc Origin would be highly appreciated.

In order to successfully attend the Laboratory module is essential that the following courses were already taken: General Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry and General Microbiology.


The International System of Units; base and derived units; elements of mathematical analysis (algebraic and differential equations); material balance (with and without reaction); reaction velocity and stoichiometry; material balance in Batch and CSTR reactors; enzymatic reaction kinetics (Michaelis-Menten) e inhibition (competitive, a-competitive and non-competitive); determination of enzymatic reaction kinetics (Lineweaver-Burk plot); kinetics and stoichiometry of microbial growth kinetics (Monod growth phases, Monod, Haldane, Contois and Tessier kinetic expressions).

LABORATORY (36 hours)
• Safety devices in the laboratory (4 hours)
security concepts, structure and security management, fire prevention. Safety in a chemical laboratory. Flammability and reactivity of chemical compounds. chemical risk: labeling, symbols and risk phrases; dose-response, acute and chronic toxicity, monitoring of exposure and effects. Electrical Hazard.
• Analytical parameters and basic scientific instrumentation (12 hours)
total solids, volatile (dissolved and suspended), settling solids, TOC, COD, BOD, nitrogen forms; volatile fatty acids and alcohols; Major basic analytical tools: use and calibration.
• Start-up of a lab-scale experiment (4 hours)
Preparation of acid solutions, basic and buffer; Preparation of equipment; Preparation of the microbial culture for inoculation of bioreactors; Preparation of the growth substrate.
• reactor (8 hours)
batch reactor (microbial growth; determination of kinetic constants; evaluation of process parameters); CSTR reactor (main components; recycling of biomass, microbial growth; management strategies)
• Examples of biorefinery: energy recovery and materials from waste biomass and organic waste (4 hours)
Test of hydrogen and methane production from waste substrates; Evaluation of the production of VFA and alcohols; Other special cases (recovery of nutrients, production of bio-fertilizers);
• Elements of environmental biotechnology (4 hours)
biological treatment of waste water: respirometric methods for determining the biological activity and kinetics of biomass.

Teaching Methods

The theoretical section will be developed in 24 hours of lessons/exercises.
These 24 hours of the theoretical section maybe approximately divided in 3 parts: one third will be devoted to reviewing mathematical analysis, chemical kinetics and introducing to material balances; then, one third will address enzymatic kinetics expressions with inhibition and identification of the corresponding adjustable parameters (problem solving on enzymatic kinetics, by comparison with experimental measurements, i.e. fitting, through regression analysis); in the residual third of lessons/exercises the theoretical analysis of microbial growth kinetics in Batch an CSTR reacting systems will be addressed (problem solving on microbial growth kinetics, by comparison with experimental measurements, i.e. fitting, through regression analysis).

The 36 hours of lessons take place in chemical laboratory divided into 9 experimental experiences of four hours each. In general, the initial presentation of the purpose of the lesson and illustration of the analytical protocol to be applied, following the practice of the method by the students, under the supervision of the teacher, in compliance with safety standards and procedures in the laboratory.

Verification of learning

The final examination of the theoretical module consists of an oral exam on topics dealt with during the course.
The evaluation of the student in relation to laboratory module provides an oral exam in the laboratory in which on all topics covered during the course. To pass the exam, students must show they have the theoretical and practical background knowledge for the study and application of industrial and environmental bioengineering processes.
The student’s final grade will be determined as the average of the partial final grades obtained in the theoretical as well as the lab modules.


1) Becker J.M., Caldwell G.A., Zachgo E.A. - Biotechnology: a laboratory course. Academic Press.
2) Stainer R.Y., Doudoroff M., Adelberg E.A. – Il mondo dei microrganismi. Zanichelli.
3) Genon G. - Processi Biologici Industriali - CLUT Editrice

More Information

Material at students’ disposal cosists of PDF and PPT files on the lessons taken in the classroom.

Questionnaire and social

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