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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/77]  PRESERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND THE ENVIRONMENT [77/15 - Ord. 2021]  Studio della natura e dell'ambiente 6 52


Educational aims:
The main aim of the course will consist in providing the basic concept of “integrated functionality” in plants. In particular this aim will be achieved by extending the molecular bases of the metabolism from the level of cell to the one of organism. Moreover important subject will also be the analysis of the factors that affect the differentiation and the development in plants. Last aim but not least, should be to provide a basic knowledge of the plant physiology as an important base for the biotechnological applications in plant systems.

Knowledge and understanding:
The course will provide the essential knowledge that stands at the base of the physiological mechanisms in plants. The peculiarity of this course, in respect to the equivalent subjects that study the animals as a model, will be constantly recalled using the ecological implications and observations as a reference. Accordingly, plants in respect to the animals has a different kind of interaction with the environment and as a result of this important difference strong divergences in therms of biochemistry and metabolism can be observed. All the main aspects are analyzed in therms of relationships between structures and functions, with particular focus on the different strategies of adaptation between plants and animals.

Applying concepts:
The course will provide an understanding of the plant cell at molecular level and will extend the concepts to systemic level resulting in a full understanding of functionality in plants. Those basic knowledge will be reinforced by the integration of practicals.

Evaluation abilities:
Evaluation of the didactic activities. Qualitative and quantitative data analysis and their interpretation.

Communication skills:
One of the important aims of the course will be to provide specific lexical skills as a base for understanding and explaining the arguments of the course. The course will also improve (or introduce) the ability to elaborate experimental data.

Learning skills:
The course will provide the “basic tools” that will allow for a constant update of the subject. Moreover, the laboratory activities will provide a partial “practical vision” of the subjects presented during the lessons.


Basic knowledge of:
Basic knowledge of botany with particular attention to the structure of subcellular organelles, plant histology and organography in vascular plants. Basic knowledge of general biochemistry are also mandatory.

Needed basis in:
General botany


UD 1 - 1.5 CFU (12 hours) - Photosynthesis, light reactions, photosystem II (PSII) and antenna systems; the cytochrome b6f complex; photosystem I (PSI); the ATP synthase complex; photoprotective mechanisms. - Photosynthesis, dark reactions: the Calvin-Benson cycle; Rubisco: carboxylation, carbon fixation, CO2 emissions, climate changes and importance of photosynthesis, oxygenation, great oxidation event, photorespiration (C3 plants), plants C4 and CAM, catalysis and Rubisco regulation; starch and sucrose: biosynthesis and allocation; sink and source organs; Phloem: composition, loading, unloading, and translocation; ecophysiology of photosynthesis.

UD 2 – 1 CFU (8 hours) - External signals: the light as an environmental signal: photoreceptors and photomorphogenesis: etiolation, scotomorphogenesis, and photomorphogenesis; photoreceptors for the red light: phytochromes, shade avoidance syndrome, photoperiodism and anthesis induction; Photoreceptor for the UVA and blue light: cryptochromes, phototropins and their activation, the Zeitlupe receptors - Internal signals: hormones: auxins, cytokinins, gibberellins, ethylene ed abscisic acid: sites of production, metabolism, transport, and transduction.

UD 3 – 0,5 CFU (4 hours) - Respiration: secondary starch hydrolysis and phosphorolysis; fructans degradation; sucrose degradation; glycolysis in the plant cell; pentose phosphate pathway: cytosolic and plastidial pathways; Krebs cycle; mitochondrial respiration: electron transport chain in plant's mitochondria, regulation of the respiratory pathways, peculiarities of respiration in plants, alternative oxidase, uncoupling protein; fermentations.

UD 4 – 1.5 CFU (12 ore) - Nitrogen and Sulfur assimilation: Nitrogen assimilation in plants, ammonia and physiological bases of its toxicity, nitrogen cycle, nitrogen biological fixation, nitrogen-fixing bacteria: free, associated and symbionts; reductive assimilation of sulfur and its mineralization, sulfate absorption, methionine synthesis. - Nutrients: macronutrients e micronutrients, nutrients deficiencies, nutrients absorption and xylematic transport, mycorrhizae and cluster roots. - water and plant: water potential; relationships between soil and water.

UD 5 - 0.5 CFU (4 hours) - Seed germination: generalities, seed development, seed vitality, types of seeds, seed reserves. - Seed dormancy: dormancy and hormones, dormancy and environment, use of reserves, seedling growth strategies.

UD 6 - 1 CFU (8 hours) - Orientation of plants in the space: tropisms and nastic movements; secondary metabolites and plant defenses. - Secondary metabolites: definition of primary and secondary metabolism; functions of secondary metabolites; the role of secondary metabolites in agriculture and artificial selection; terpenes; phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and anthocyanins; alkaloids.

Teaching Methods

Lectures (PowerPoint), practicals and Laboratories.
The lessons will be mainly face-to-face, integrated and "augmented" with online strategies.

Verification of learning

The exam consists of an oral test based on the different topics covered during the course. Particular attention will be paid to the interconnections capabilities of the candidate to link different topics covered during the course and her/his ability to extend the discussion to concepts acquired in previous courses. Everything must be accompanied by an appropriate technical language.


N. Rascio, "Elementi di fisiologia vegetale", Edises.

Taiz L. & Zeiger "Elementi di fisiologia vegetale", quinta edizione. Piccin Nuova Libraria.

More Information

During the course will be performed several tests having the aim to identify critical points, improve the strength of the concepts and stimulate the development of an appropriate technical language.

Questionnaire and social

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