08147 - Agricultural Chemistry

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Ornella Francioso

  • Credits 6

  • SSD AGR/13

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Marketing and Economics of the Agro-Industrial System (cod. 5833)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


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

No poverty Responsible consumption and production Climate Action Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will be able to understand the main chemical and biochemical processes of the soil-plant compartments and will also acquire basic knowledge of soil fertility and how it should be assessed and preserved

Course contents

Course Unit 1. Elements of Agricultural Biochemistry (total 30 hours).

Macromolecules structure:

-Amino acids and peptides

-Proteins (Primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures)

-Enzymes (kinetics and inhibitors)

-Carbohydrates (simple and polysaccharide)

- Lipids

- Glycolsys

- Cycle of Krebs

- Cellular respiration

- Photosynthesis and Cycle of Calvin

Course Unit 2. Elements of Soil Chemistry (total 30 hours).

The basic mineral constituents: silicates, oxides and hydroxides. Isomorphic substitution. Structure and properties of phyllosilicates: kaolinite, smectites, vermiculites.


Soil chemical properties:

- Cation exchange capacity and Anion exchange capacity

- pH of soil (alkaline and acid soils)

- Soil organic matter and humic substances

Cycle of nutrients (N, P, S, K)

Soil fertility index

Mineral and organic fertilizers


The materials presented during the lessons do not substitute the reference textbooks but are a complement to them. They constitute a guide for the selection and understanding of the topics to be dealt with. The reference texts are::

J.M Berg, J.L. Tymoczko, L. Stryer Biochimica. Zanichelli, 2012

P. Violante. Chimica e fertilità del suolo. Edagricole, 2013

P. Sequi, C. Ciavatta, T. Miano. Fondamenti di Chmica del Suolo. Patron Editore 2017. 

Students who wish to make the oral exam in English can use the following textbook:

D.L. Sparks. Environmental soil chemistry. Academic Press, 2003

J. M. Chesworth, T. Stuchbury, J.R. Scaife. An introduction to agricultural biochemistry. Chapman & Hall, 1998

Teaching methods

The course consists of lectures (40hours) and practices (20 hours) represented by seminars offered by visiting professors from other institutions, to integrate the instructor's lectures

Assessment methods

The evaluation of the course takes into account jointly the level of knowledge and skills acquired by the student in relation to the contents of Biochemistry and Soil fertility.

For this course, the skills will be assessed through a final oral examination, consisting of 2 questions.

The duration of the oral examination is estimated at around 20-30 minutes. 

The final mark is calculated as the arithmetic mean of the marks achieved in the Soil Chemistry and Agronomy Modules.

Students that wish to take the exam in English must request it from the teacher at least two days before the exam.

Teaching tools

The teaching material presented during the lesson will be uploaded to https://virtuale.unibo.it/



Office hours

See the website of Ornella Francioso