Academic Year 2022/2023

  • Docente: Enrico Noli
  • Credits: 4
  • SSD: AGR/02
  • Language: Italian
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Agricultural Sciences and Technologies (cod. 9235)

Learning outcomes

The student acquires the basics of seed biology, production, technology and control. He gains understanding of the physical, physiological and genetic aspects of seed quality and the analytical techniques for their determination. Moreover he knows the agronomic and genetic aspects of seed production, the certification system and the main regulations in this field.

Course contents


The student accessing this course has a good background on the principles of plant biology and agronomy. In particular, for the first aspect, he knows both the anatomy as well as the vegetative and reproductive processes in plants; for the latter he knows the climatic and biological factors of the agro-ecosystem. Since part of the didactic material will be in English, the knowledge of this language will make the studying of this subject easier.

1 – In –classroom didactic unit (Total didactic unit 24 h)

1.1 Introduction to the module (2 h)

-Importance of seed in modern agriculture. International overview on seeds

-The seed production chain

- Seed quality aspects

1.2 Seed biology and physiology (4 h)

-Floral induction, flower development, micro- and macrogametogenesis, seed development

-Accumulation of storage materials, desiccation, dormancy, germination

-Seed identification for cereal, industrial, and vegetable species

1.3 Seed production and certification (10 h)

-Ecological factors and agronomic aspects of seed crops

-Seed technology: harvest, storage, seed conditioning and invigoration

-Physical and physiological seed quality

-Genetic aspects of seed production. Types of varieties. Hybrid seed production through manual and chemical emasculation, male sterility and self-incompatibility

-European, national and regional regulations. Plant variety protection under the UPOV system.

-Seed certification: field inspections and laboratory tests.

1.4 Genetic quality of seed (8 h)

-Varietal identity and purity and their assessment

-Use of morfological, biochemical and molecular markers for the assessment of seed genetic quality

-Use of markers for fraud repression, intellectual property protection and traceability

-Genetically modified organisms (GMO) in seeds: generalities and regulatory aspects. Objectives of GMO detection. Qualitative and quantitative GMO detection methods

2 – Practical didactic unit (Total didactic unit 16 h)

-Seed ID of the main crop and weed species (3 h)

-Seed lot sampling and testing for the assessment of seed physical and physiological quality (3 h)

-Use of molecular techniques for the assessment of seed genetic quality (3 h)

-Use of software for statistical alnalysis of seed testing data" (3 h)

-Visit to a seed company or to breeding activities in the field (4 h)


Handouts distributed by the teacher during the course and presentations given during classes (available on IOL platform) and lecture notes are essential for studying this subject.

For further readings we suggest:

  • Ciriciofolo e Benincasa Sementi - Biologia, produzione e tecnologia. Edizioni Agricole di New Business Media srl, 2017 Università di Perugia. 2001 (pdf caricato su AMS Campus)
  • Favero La semente. Requisiti, normativa, produzione e tecnologia. Reda, 1983 - BIBL 631.5 FAV
  • Quagliotti Produzione delle sementi ortive. Edagricole, 1992 - Collocazione BIBL 633 QUA
  • Russel et al. Genetica Agraria. EdiSES
  • Albertini, Frusciante, Lorenzetti, Rosellini, Russi, Tuberosa e Veronesi Miglioramento genetico delle piante agrarie. Edizioni Agricole di New Business Media srl, 2018

Teaching methods

The course is made in part of lectures in the classroom (24 h), as well as of laboratory sessions, and field excursions and/or visits to seed companies (16 h).

Assessment methods

The knowledge and competence provided by this teaching will be evaluated by oral examination. The exam lasts about 20-25 minutes during which 2 questions about different topics are asked and one further question concerns the identification of the seed of the main crops species.

Teaching tools

Slide presentations, videos, articles, hands-on activity in the lab, educational visits.

Office hours

See the website of Enrico Noli


Zero hunger Responsible consumption and production Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.