D3a - Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)
Basic knowledge of agricultural chemistry.
The didactic method is based on ppt lectures (4 ECTS) (provided in copies to the students) and laboratory experiences (2 ECTS). The course will be also available through an e-learning version using the Moodle platform. Within this platform, the student will be provided of teaching materials composed by different learning units.
Knowledge. The course enables students to acquire the fundamental knowledge about factors that regulate soil fertility and new strategies implemented for the restoration/conservation of agricultural soils, interpretation of soil chemical analysis, acquisition of basic analytical methods for the determination of chemical and biochemical properties of the soil.
Applying knowledge and understanding. The main aim of this course is to provide a fully development ability of the student in recognizing the main factors that mediate for macro and micro-nutrients availability to crops and use efficiency as well as strategies aimed at the restoration and conservation of fertility in agricultural soils.
Cross-expertise. (i) Judgement skills: identify the information needed to improve the status of soil fertility b) basic knowledge of chemical analysis and laboratory work, c) clear and comprehensive transfer of information, ideas, problems and solutions to technicians, specialists and general operators involved in soil management and crop production.
1. Course introduction. Defining soil ecosystem and its functions. Physical and chemical agents of soil formation. Properties of agricultural soils. The concept of soil fertility (0.5 ECTS).
2. Soil Physical fertility. Soil texture and soil structure. Genesis of the soil structure: abiotic and biotic factors. Classification, grade and maintenance of the soil structure in an agricultural soil. Infiltration of soil water and air. Soil temperature (1.5 ECTS).
3. Soil Biological Fertility. Soil organic matter (SOM): composition, mean residence time and functions. Carbohydrates, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and lipids compounds. Organic recalcitrant compounds to degradation and humic substances. Detritus chain: steps and degradation kinetics of SOM. Soil metabolic activity. Soil enzymes: hydrolase and oxidoreductase involved in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur. Humification processes. Case studies Enzymatic assays and determination of humic fraction in soils under different agronomic management (2 ECTS).
4. Soil Chemical Fertility. Macro and micro-elements of nutrition. Nutrients conveyance in soil-plant system. Nutrients bioavailability. Knowledge and evaluation of soil chemical analysis report. Biostimulants. Determination of nitrates (2 ECTS).
Learning evaluation methods
ORAL EXAM. Oral discussion on four of the subjects listed in the teaching program.
The student can optionally present an essay regarding one of the topic covered during the course.
Learning evaluation criteria
During the exam the student will have to demonstrate knowledge on: a) factors influencing formation of agricultural soil b) factors regulating soil texture, soil bulk density, formation of soil structure, the balance of soil air-water c) biogeochemical cycles of elements in soil d) the bioavailability of macro and micro-nutrient to crops.
The student has also to demonstrate an overall knowledge of the course contents and discuss them with appropriate and specific terms and to show a deductive comprehension of the discussed subjects and a critical approach.
Learning measurement criteria
The final grade is expressed in thirtieths. Successfull completion of the examination will lead to grades ranging from 18 to 30 “cum laude”.
Final mark allocation criteria
The oral examination consists of four questions on the subjects listed in the teaching program. The student keeps a score in the range of 0 – 8 points per question. The student who shows broad knowledge of each subject will reach the grade of 30 “cum laude”.
1. Violante P., 2013 – Chimica e Fertilità del Suolo - Edagricole
2. Stevenson F.J. and Cole M.A., 1999 - Cycles of Soil –– John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
3. Prasad R. and Power J F., 2000 - Soil fertility Management for Sustainable Agriculture – CRC Press Lewis Publishers.
Monday from 11 am to 1 pm