88101 - Microbial Biotechnologies In Agroforestry

Course Unit Page


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

Zero hunger Good health and well-being Clean water and sanitation Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

From this course the student will acquire knowledge on the microbial adaptation to the natural envíronments, on the methods for the microbial characterization, on the role of microorganisms on the bioremediation of the agro- forestry environmental, on the new frontiera of microbial genetic and will learn the potential applications of GM microorganisms.

Course contents

  • Introduction
  • Microbial nutrition and nutritional groups
  • Metabolic diversity in microorganisms (carbohydrates catabolism, pyruvate fermentation)
  • Effects of the environment on growth
  • Microbial associations (classification of interactions)
  • Microbiology of extreme environments
  • Microbial growth in laboratory and in nature (growth kinetics)
  • Dynamics of microbial communities
  • Preservation of microbial culture
  • The soil: an environment for microorganisms
  • Microbial ecology of forest soil
  • Degradation of plant residues
  • Laboratory techniques for environmental microbiota analysis
  • Factors affecting the degradation of organic compounds
  • Bioremediation strategies
  • In situ treatments of contaminated soils
  • Ex situ tr§eatments of contaminated soils
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Bioremediation
  • Metals and Their Biological Role
  • Genetics and Biochemistry of Metal Resistance
  • Role of microorganisms in bio absorption of metals
  • Biological treatment of Wastewater
  • Bacterial genetics: principles
  • Plasmids, Transfer of plasmids, Properties of plasmids, Resistance plasmids, Virulence plasmids
  • Transposable elements
  • Organization of a genome: Chromosome Map of E. coli
  • Replication Transcription and Translation in microorganisms
  • Gene regulation
  • Horizontal gene transfer in nature
  • Microbial biotechnology and legislative aspects related to GMM application (Genetically Modified Microorganisms)
  • Recombinant DNA technology and cloning vectors
  • Expression vectors
  • Metagenomics
  • Application of GMM in the industrial field
  • GMM in the food and pharmaceutical industry
  • GMM for bioremediation
  • Microbial Biotechnology in Agriculture


Lecture notes: English and Italian version

Additional suggested books are:

  • J Willey, L Sherwood, CJ Woolverton (tenth edition 2017) Prescott's Microbiology Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
  • JK Patra, CN Vishnuprasad, G Das (2018) Microbial Biotechnology: Applications in Agriculture and Environment Springer.

Teaching methods

For the theoretical part, the teaching method will rely on power point presentations and open discussions. The total amount of hours will be divided in: lectures 60% and complementary activities 40% (laboratory experiences, videos, seminars etc.). The aim of the complementary activities is to connect the theoretical part of the course with the practical aspects

Assessment methods

The final exam will be oral (about 30 min), three questions one of which on the genetic part. Students wishing to take the examination in Italian are allowed

Teaching tools

For the lectures PC, projector and blackboard are available. For complementary activities teaching laboratories and labs of the microbiology area will be used

Office hours

See the website of Loredana Baffoni