D3a - Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)


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Seat Agraria
A.A. A.A. 2016-2017
Credits 9
Hours 81
Period 2^ semestre
Language ENG
U-gov code STA 3A479


Basic knowledge of general biology and inorganic and organic chemistry 

Development of the course

Lectures in ppt (supplied in copies to the students) and laboratory experiences that involve students individually (written protocols of the experiences are also supplied).

The method has the aim to supply the basic knowledge for the understanding of the matter and to realize the opportune connection among the topics.

The course will be also available through an e-learning platform. General information is present in the introductive part (Course presentation, Program); The Forum for communication between students and the Forum news for communication between teacher and students are also present. Within this platform the course will be divided into: i) teaching material composed by different learning units ii) self-assessment tests; iii) link to specific websites. 

Learning outcomes

Knowledge. The course enables students to acquire the fundamental knowledge about the soil chemistry and plant biochemistry and about the laboratory analytical methods to determine the soil physico-chemical characteristics and the plant primary metabolites. Acquired knowledge could be useful to better understand other processes and phenomena linked to plant physiology and crop production.


Applying knowledge and understanding. The main objective of the course is to provide a fully development ability of the students in making laboratory analysis of the main soil physico-chemical characteristics and plant metabolites, including the phases of soil sampling in fields. The interpretation of the laboratory data will allow to draw fertilization plan and amendment and corrective actions in soils.


Cross-expertise: a) selection of the best fertilization and soil amendment and correction strategies, according to the other experts in the field; b) choice of the best farm management strategies both for crop production and environmental safety.



Pedogenesis environment. Structure and properties of silicates. Silicate hydrolysis. Pedogenesis factors (0.4 ECTS). Soil texture and structure. Texture determination. (0.2 ECTS). Soil colloidal properties. Structure and properties of Al and Fe Hydroxyoxides, micas, smectites, vermiculites and kaolins (0.4 ECTS). Humus: extraction, fractionation, composition and physico-chemical properties. Determination of soil organic carbon content (0.4 ECTS). Cation retention (exchange) in soils. Determination of cation exchange capacity. Exchange equations (Kerr and Gapon) (0.4 ECTS). Soil pH and buffer power, soil pH measurement (0.4 ECTS). Calcareous soils. Characteristics and correction of acid, sodic and alkaline soils. (0.4 ECTS). Fertilization: macro and micro-elements in soils. Determination of bio-available elements in soil. Nitrogen fertilizers, phosphorous fertilizers, potassium fertilizers, compost, complex and liquid fertilizers (0.4 ECTS). Environmental risk in agriculture: pesticides, phosphorus, nitrogen, heavy metals (0.4 ECTS).

Bioenergetics: exergonic and endergonic reactions. ATP cycle. Redox reactions in biology. Standard redox potential (0.4 ECTS). Enzymes: classification, characteristics, composition, coenzymes and cofactors. Enzyme kinetics: Michaelis-Menten equation. Factors affecting enzyme activity: pH and temperature. Enzyme inhibition (0.4 ECTS). Photosynthesis: factors affecting photosynthesis. Photosynthetic pigments, Structure of tilacoid membrane. Mechanism of light capture. The light reaction: ATP formation. The dark reaction: C2, C3 and C4 cycles. Photosynthesis efficiency (0.4 ECTS). Cellular respiration: glycolysis, anaerobic fermetation, Krebs cycle, RPP Cycle, electron transport chain (0.4 ECTS). Lipids: general information and classification. Biosynthesis and catabolism of fatty acids and triacylglicerols. Glioxylate cycle and gluconeogenesis (0.4 ECTS). Nitrogen cycle: nitrogen fixation, organication. Glutamine biosynthesis. Amino-acids and proteins. Mineralization of proteic nitrogen, transamination and deamination, nitrification and denitrification (0.4 ECTS). Plant pigments and vitamins. Phytohormones: auxins, gibberellins, cytokinins, abscisic acid, ethylene (0.4 ECTS).

Laboratory analyses of soil physico-chemical characteristics (texture, organic carbon, total and active calcium carbonate, pH and electric conductivity) and plant metabolites (chlorophyll) (0.4 ECTS).

Development of the examination

Learning evaluation methods Oral discussion on four of the subjects listed in the teaching program. During the course, there are also going to be available self-evaluation tests (e-learning mode), in order to provide useful information about the student skill level.


Learning evaluation criteria In the oral discussion, the student will have to demonstrate: i) knowledge of the main chemical and biochemical reactions occurring in soil and plant tissues; ii) acquiring knowledge on laboratory analysis of soil chemical and plant biochemical characteristics. To pass the oral exam, the student must demonstrate an overall understanding using appropriate technical terminology and to be able to deal with deductive reasoning.


Learning measurement criteria The final mark is attributed in thirtieths. Successful completion of the examination will lead to grades ranking from 18 to 30 “cum laude”


Final mark allocation criteria The oral examination consists of four questions concerning the subjects listed in the teaching program, the final degree being the mean of the four replies. The degree of 30 “cum laude” is attributed when the student demonstrates complete mastery of the subject


Recommended reading

-  Learning material on Moodle platform

- AUTORI VARI, Fondamenti di Chimica del suolo, Patron Editore, 2005.

- M. BUSINELLI, Chimica del suolo, Morlacchi Editore, 2009

- L. SCARPONI, Biochimica Agraria, Galeno Editrice, 1996

- M. MAFFEI, Biochimica Vegetale, Piccin Nuova Libraria, 1999.


Tutorial session

Wednesday     9-11 a.m.

Thursday         11 a.m. -1 p.m.

  • C.L.T. - Scienze e Tecnologie Agrarie Curriculum TECNOLOGIE AGRARIE (STA - TA)
  • C.L.T. - Scienze e Tecnologie Agrarie Curriculum VITICOLTURA ED ENOLOGIA (STA - VE)

Università Politecnica delle Marche
P.zza Roma 22, 60121 Ancona
Tel (+39) 071.220.1, Fax (+39) 071.220.2324
P.I. 00382520427