Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell'Ambiente - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)


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Seat Scienze
A.A. 2016/2017
Credits 6
Hours 48
Period 1^ semestre
Language ENG
U-gov code SM02 5S469


Knowledge in Botany, Plant Physiology, Biochemistry.

Development of the course

Frontal lessons (5 credits, 40 hours) and practical lessons in laboratory (1 credit, 8 hours). During the lectures group discussions on scientific papers previously submitted to class as printed or electronic material, short presentations of students to explore themes that will attract particular interest, numerical exercises, instructions for laboratory practical works will be held.

Learning outcomes

The course enables students to acquire theoretical and methodological basis of algae cultivation and biomass production (preparation of liquid and solid growth media, growth technique in batch, semi-continuous and continuous cultures), knowledge on manipulation of cultural parameters in order to metabolically divert resource allocation into intracellular lipid, carbohydrate or protein pools. Simultaneously it provides students with the knowledge on global environmental issues (climate change, depletion of energy resources, waste treatment) that require innovative biotechnological approaches.

Ability to apply the knowledge:
The student will also acquire the following professional skills: ability to culture different types of algal species on a small and large scale and to monitor their growth and the cell composition of the biomass; ability to propose innovative approaches in the field of algal biotechnology.

Soft skills:
Performing laboratory analysis, scientific paper discussion in groups and short presentation or brief insights on specific learning objectives of interest, help to improve the students' communication skills, learning and critical abilities in an autonomous and self-guided way.


Content (frontal lessons and laboratories, 6 CFU, 48 hours):

Microalgae - Methods for cultivation: batch, semicontinuous and continuous cultures, culture media, auxotrophy and mixotrophy, sterile techniques.
Microalgae – Algal collections and bio-banks in the world; long-term conservation of biodiversity through cryopreservation and other methods ex situ; assays of cell viability.
Microalgae - From laboratory to industrial plants: types of open ponds and photobioreactors; technologies for cell immobilization in gel; harvesting; examples of integrated analysis of production phases (Life Cycle Assessment).
Macroalgae – Cultivation.
Lipid metabolism in plant cells - structure and function of lipids, the fatty acid biosynthesis, acetyl-CoA carboxylase, fatty acid synthase, elongation and desaturation of fatty acids, synthesis of membrane lipids, synthesis and catabolism of TAG, metabolic and genetic engineering of lipids.

Possible uses of plant biomass - energy use for the production of biofuels, human and animal nutrition, CO2 sequestration and flue gas remediation, waste water treatment, production of valuable bioactive molecules, nanotechnology.
Tools for cell analysis - Measurement of the photosynthetic efficiency of PSII, measurement of the cellular composition by FTIR spectroscopy; screening methods of functional types of plant cells for commercial use.

Laboratory - Techniques for microalgae cultivation; growth rate determination; extraction and determination of photosynthetic pigments; measurement of PSII photosynthetic efficiency; plant cell immobilization.

Development of the examination

Methods for assessing learning outcomes:
The exam consists of an oral interview with at least three questions. Each question is given a score between zero and thirty. Oral exam grade is calculated as the average of the scores. For the final mark, class presentations and discussions will also be evaluated, they will be awarded with a maximum of two points. The exam is passed when the final grade is greater than or equal to 18. 

Criteria for assessing learning outcomes: 
The student must demonstrate to know principles and methods (theory and practice) for the cultivation of microalgae and macroalgae, for the manipulation of cultural parameters used to produce algal biomass with the macromolecular composition required by different biotechnological applications. 

Criteria for measuring learning outcomes:
The final mark is awarded out of thirty. The exam is passed when the grade is greater than or equal to 18. The highest mark with honors (30 cum laude) is also expected to be awarded.

Criteria for conferring final mark:
The final mark is given by adding the oral exam grade to the grade (up to a maximum of two points) resulting from the class work done during the course. The highest honors are attributed when the score obtained from the previous sum exceeds the value of 30 e when the student has demonstrated full mastery of the subject.

Recommended reading

Bibliography cited in teaching slides and notes during the course.
Biologia cellulare & Biotecnologie Vegetali, Pasqua, 2011, Piccin.

  • Biologia marina

Università Politecnica delle Marche
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