67006 - General Virology and Microbiology

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Moduli: Beatrice Vitali (Modulo 1) Marco Rinaldo Oggioni (Modulo 2) Daniele Ghezzi (Modulo 3) Elisa Avitabile (Modulo 4)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2) Traditional lectures (Modulo 3) Traditional lectures (Modulo 4)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Biological Sciences (cod. 8012)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student has the fundamental concepts that define the organization and metabolism of prokaryotes as well as the main phylogenetic and physiological correlations of Bacteria and Archaea in natural environments and in biotechnological applications. The student also possesses the basic concepts of virus structure and replication as well as bacterial growth and exchanges of genetic material between prokaryotic cells in order to understand the recombination mechanisms.

Course contents

Module 1-Microbiology (Beatrice Vitali)

(4 CFU: 32 hours)

Basic principles of Microbiology.

Principles of microscopy.

Evolutionary history and microbial diversity.

Structure and functions of prokaryotic cell.

Microbial Metabolism.

Regulation of microbial metabolism and other regulatory systems.

Microbial growth.

Phototrophy, chemolithotrophy and major biosyntheses.

Catabolism of organic compounds.

Module 2 and 3 - Microbiology + Microbial Methodologies

Module 2 (Marco Oggioni)

(1 CFU + 1/2 laboratory CFU x 2 groups: 8 theoretical hours + 12 laboratory hours)

Microbial genomes

Horizontal gene transfer

Antimicrobial agents

Antibiotic resistance


Bacterial isolation on plate (day 1)

Bacterial count on Dilution Plates (Day 1)

Analysis of bacterial growth on plates and colony count (day 2)

Gram stain and light microscopy (day 2)

Module 3 (Daniele Ghezzi)

(1/2 CFU laboratory: 6 hours x 4 groups = 24 hours)

Bacterial isolation on plate (day 1)

Bacterial count on Dilution Plates (Day 1)

Analysis of bacterial growth on plates and colony count (day 2)

Gram stain and light microscopy (day 2)

Module 4 (Elisa Avitabile)

General Virology (2 CFU: 16 hours)

Structure, composition and classification of animal, plant and bacterial viruses. Genome, capsid and viral envelope. Structure-function relationship.

The different mechanisms of virus penetration into the host cell (bacteriophages, plant and animal viruses).

The phases of the viral replicative cycle.

Cell virus interaction. Outcomes of infection. Cultivation and quantification of viruses.

Replication strategies of RNA viruses. Ex: Picornavirus (ss + RNA virus).

Replication strategies of DNA viruses. Ex: Herpesvirus (dsDNA virus).

Retrovirus replication strategies.

Coronavirus disease Pandemic: Sars-CoV-2 and COVID-19.


Testo di riferimento: Brock. Biologia dei microrganismi. Microbiologia generale, ambientale e industriale • Pearson.

In alternativa: Prescott. Microbiologia generale. McGray-Hill.

Teaching methods

The course consists of 8 CFUs divided as follows:

Module 1: 4 CFUs of Microbiology (theroretical)

Module 2: 1 CFU of Microbiology (theoretical) + 1/2 CFU of Laboratory (2 groups)

Module 3: 1/2 CFU of Laboratory (4 groups)

Module 4: 2 CFUs of Virology (theoretical)

As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students (including all the international incoming exchange students, i.e. ERASMUS) must attend Module 1, 2 online [https://www.unibo.it/it/servizi-e-opportunita/salute-e-assistenza/salute-e-sicurezza/sicurezza-e-salute-nei-luoghi-di-studio-e-tirocinio], while Module 3 on health and safety is to be attended in class. Information about Module 3 attendance schedule is available on the website of your degree programme ("studiare"--"formazione obbligatoria su sicurezza e salute").

Assessment methods

The exam consists in written or oral test including questions that cover the contents of the modules. The dates of the tests will be published on almaesami.

Teaching tools

Presentations of the lessons will be made available online (Virtuale platform) or directly in the classroom.

Office hours

See the website of Beatrice Vitali

See the website of Marco Rinaldo Oggioni

See the website of Daniele Ghezzi

See the website of Elisa Avitabile


Good health and well-being Affordable and clean energy Oceans Life on land

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