12818 - Vegetal Biology

Course Unit Page


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

Life on land

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student acquires the basic notions regarding evolution of plant organisms, plant cell structure, plant tissues and organs and their structure and functions. The student will also be able to understand the physiological processes such as the water absorption and balance of the plant, the regulation of plant development, the photosynthetic and respiration processes. This will allow to fully understand the role of primary producers of autotrophic organisms in the ecosystem. The student will be able to perform a preparation from a fresh plant and to identify the type of plant, the growth stage, its environmental adaptations, and the functions of the organs examined.

Course contents

The teaching program will cover the following topics:

- Elementary knowledge of Biochemistry. The chemical components of the living organisms: water, inorganic substances, organic substances. Monomers, polymers, condensation, hydrolysis. The carbohydrates, the lipids, the proteins, the nucleic acids. The plant polysaccharides: starch, cellulose, pectin.

- The cell. The prokaryotic cell: structure and function of its components. Cyanobacteria and the endosimbyontic theory the genesis of eucaryotic cell. The eukaryotic plant cell: the wall (middle lamella, primary wall, secondary wall, plant cell wall modifications), the plasma membrane, the cytoplasm, the vacuole (genesis and functions, primary and secondary metabolites), the plastids (chloroplasts, leucoplasts, chromoplasts), the nucleus, the ribosomes, the mitochondria, the Golgi complex, the endoplasmic reticulum, the cytoskeleton. Basic knowledge on cell division through mitosis and meiosis.

- Different plant structures and their evolution. The main functional and morphological characteristics of the living organisms (Autotrophs and Heterotrophs; Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes; algae, fungi, Pteridophytes and Spermatophytes (Angiosperms dicotyledons and monocotyledons, Gymnosperms)).

- The Plant Tissues. Meristematic tissues and differentiated tissues. Integumental tissues, parenchyma tissues, mechanical tissues, the secretory tissues, the vascular tissues and types of vascular bundles.

- The Anatomy of the Spermatophytes. The stem in primary and secondary structure. Anatomy of the stem of Gymnosperms, Angiosperms dicotyledons and monocotyledons. The stem in primary and secondary structure. Anatomy of the root of Gymnosperms, Angiosperms dicotyledons and monocotyledons. The root in primary and secondary structure. Leaf anatomy of Gymnosperms, Angiosperms dicotyledons and monocotyledons. Main modifications of plant organs-

- The reproduction of Spermatophyte plants. The annual, biennial and perennial plants. Reproduction of Gymnosperms and Angiosperms. The seed and the fruit.

- Introductory Plant Physiology. Osmotic phenomena. Water potential. The water potential in the soil-plant-atmosphere system. Water uptake from the soil and water movements in the plant. Transpiration, opening and closing of the stomata. The mineral nutrition. The C and N cycles. Photosynthesis (photosynthetic pigments, photosystems, the light phase, the dark phase or the Calvin cycle). Photorespiration. Plants C3, C4, CAM. The aerobic respiration, the anaerobic respiration, the fermentations. The plant hormones: auxins, gibberellins, cytokinins, abscisic acid, ethylene, brassinosteroids, jamsonates. The effects of light: photomorphogenesis, photoperiodism. The germination. The effects of temperature: vernalization. Plant senescence.


PANCALDI S., BALDISSEROTTO C., FERRONI L., PANTALEONI L., 2011 - Fondamenti di Botanica Generale - Teoria e Pratica. McGraw-Hill Education (Milano, Italy)

This is the reference textbook for the first part of the course (cytology, histology, anatomy and reproduction of the Spermatophytes).

- VENTURELLI F., VIRLI L., 1995 - Invito alla Botanica. Zanichelli, Bologna
This is the reference textbook for the second part of the course (plant physiology and ecology), lacking in Pancaldi et al (2011).

- SPERANZA A., CALZONI G. L., 2001 - Struttura delle Piante in Immagini (with CD-ROM). Zanichelli, Bologna.

This is a useful iconographic support for the first part of the course and useful for passing the exam

Pancaldi et al. (2011) and Venturelli & Virli (1995) are available at the library of Palazzo Vespignani in Imola.

Teaching methods

Lectures with multimedia tools (Power point presentations). Students are invited to actively participate to the lectures and ask questions.

Assessment methods

The assessment of the knowledge acquired is achieved through a multiple choice test which, once passed, will lead to an oral examination. The dates of exams will be published in advance on AlmaEsami web site.

The final exam, oral, aims to verify the preparation of the student on ALL PARTS of the program. It will cover the presentation of two / three topics, mostly proposed by the teacher. The student must be able to schematically represent the structures and phenomena that are the subject of his / her presentation.

The exams will be held jointly and on the same day for the entire course (Module 1 + Module 2).

The achievement of an organic vision of the issues addressed and their critical use, demonstrating ownership of the matter, will be assessed with marks of excellence. Mechanical and/or mnemonic knowledge of the matter, will lead to discrete assessments; minimal knowledge will lead to marks that will not exceed the sufficiency. Training gaps, inappropriate language, will lead to failed assessments.

Teaching tools

Power point presentations prepared by the teachers.

During the laboratories the student will be equipped with an optical microscope.

Office hours

See the website of Annalisa Tassoni

See the website of Federica Zanetti