Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: ANDREA BAGLIERI

Expected Learning Outcomes

The course aims to provide the students a general comprehension of the chemical-physical and bio-ecological properties of the soil and the plant biochemistry. The student at the end of the course will get the skills and the abilities to evaluate the soil fertility, from a chemical, physical and biological viewpoint, and implement strategies to manage it or to increase it according to the target of production fixed and/or environmental need.

Knowledge and understanding
The course will provide students with the necessary chemical and biochemical concepts to understand the functioning of the soil-plant system, as well as the metabolic processes that regulate life. In particular the student will learn:
- the molecular composition of ecosystems.
- the molecular basis of various biotic and abiotic processes that occur within.
- the mechanisms that regulate the availability of nutrients.

Applying knowledge and understanding
The course will enable students to:
- use soil characteristics, environmental conditions and plant characteristics to deduce nutrient availability for the plant.
- plan the necessary actions required to determine the soil properties of a agricultural farm.
- solve simple problems regarding the soil system.

Making judgements
The course will enable students to:
- critically assess and evaluate the physical, biological and chemical fertility of a farm's soils.
Communication skills
The course will enable students to:
- adopt appropriate scientific terminology when referring to the soil-plant systems.
- write a detailed professional report on the fertility characteristics of a soil.

Course Structure

The course is made of:

Frontal lessons (21 hours) in which the student acquires the basis notions on the aspects of soil fertility and plant nutrition;

- Application part (56 hours)(laboratory exercitations and/or on field experience) by transferring the theoretical concepts to practical experiences by examples allowing the student to acquire greater mastery of the subject to complete the training process.

If teaching is given in a mixed formula or remotely, necessary changes may be introduced to what was previously stated in order to comply with the provided and reported Syllabus.

Learning assessment may also be carried out on line, should the conditions require it.

As a guarantee of equal opportunities and in compliance with current laws, interested students can ask for a personal interview in order to plan any compensatory and/or dispensatory measures, based on their specific needs and on teaching objectives of the discipline. 
It is also possible to ask the departmental contacts of CInAP (Center for Active and Participatory Integration - Services for Disabilities and/or DSAs), in the persons of professor Anna De Angelis.

Detailed Course Content

Introduction. Clay minerals and Fe and Al oxides: structure and properties. Anion and Cation exchenge 

Physical propierties of soil. Organic matter: evolution and propierties. Biological component of soil 

pH oh the soil. Anomalous soils and their correction. N, P, K and C cycles 

Nutritional needs of plant. Energy. Enzimology. Mechanisms of nutrient uptake 

Photosynthesis. Photorespiration. C4 and CAM plants pathways 

Respiration: Glycolysis, Krebs cycle, oxidative phosphorylation 

Thecnical visit;

Laboratory and classroom practice.

Textbook Information

Text 1: Fondamenti di Chimica del suolo (2017). Sequi, Ciavatta, Miano. Patròn Editore, Bologna

Text 2: Fondamenti di Biochimica agraria (2016). Pinton, Cocucci, Nannipieri, Trevisan. Patròn Editore, Bologna

Text 3: Paolo Sequi (2005): "Fondamenti di chimica del suolo". Patron Editore;

Text 4: Marinella Bosetto e Irene Lozzi (2006): "Elementi di biochimica agraria". Aracne Editrice

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1Introduzione.Testo 1: Cap. 1 (Par. 1.1-1.2-1.3)
2Fase liquida e gassosa del suolo. Testo 1: Cap. 5 (Par. 5.1-5.3-5.4-5.5)
3* Minerali argillosi ed ossidi di Fe ed Al: struttura e proprietà. Testo 1: Cap. 3
4* Sostanza organica: evoluzione e proprietà. Componente biologica del suolo. Testo 1: Cap. 4 e 6 (Par. 6.1-6.2-6.4) e 7 (Par. 7.1)
5* Proprietà fisiche del suoloTesto 1: Cap. 13 (Par. 13.1.2)
6* Scambio anionico e cationico. Testo 1: Cap. 8 (Par. 8.1-8.2-8.3-8.4)
7* pH del suolo. Suoli anomali e loro correzione. Testo 1: Cap. 9 (Par. 9.1)
8* Ciclo dell’N, P, K e C.Testo 1: Cap 6 (Par. 6.3) e 10 (Par. 10.1.1-10.1.2)
9Esigenze nutrizionali delle piante. Energetica. Enzimologia. Meccanismi di assorbimento dei nutrienti.Testo 2: Parte 1 (Par. 1-2-2.9-3-3.1-3.2-3.3); Parte 8 (Par. 15-15.1-15.2-15.3-15.4-15.6-15.7)
10* Fotosintesi. Fotorespirazione. Ciclo piante C4 e CAM. Testo 2: Parte 3 (Par. 7-7.1-7.2-7.3-7.4-7.5-7.6-7.7-7.8-7.9-8-8.1-8.2-8.3)
11* Respirazione. Fosforilazione ossidativa. Testo 2: Parte 2 (Par.4-4.1-5-5.1-5.2-6-6.1-6.2-6.3)

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

Learning evaluation will be assessed by oral examinations. Checks in progress are foreseen in the mid of course to ascertain the learning level and the interest degree of the students.

Verification of learning can also be carried out by online way if it will be necessary.

The score assignment follows the adopted scheme:

Not suitable for passing examination

Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Heavy shortcomings. Significant inaccuracies

Ability to analyze and synthesize: Irrelevant. Frequent generalizations. Inability to synthesize

Use of references: Completely inappropriate


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: At the threshold level. Obvious imperfections

Analysis and synthesis skills: Just enough skills

Use of references: As appropriate


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Routine knowledge Analysis and synthesis skills: It is capable of correct analysis and synthesis. Argue logically and consistently

Using references: Use standard references


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Good knowledge

Analysis and synthesis skills: Has good analysis and synthesis skills. The topics are expressed consistently

Using references: Use standard references


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Knowledge more than good

Ability to analyze and synthesize: He has considerable abilities of analysis and synthesis

Use of references: Has well explored the topics


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Excellent knowledge

Ability to analyze and synthesize: He has considerable abilities of analysis and synthesis.