We will consider soil as a complex biological system that permits the presence of life on Earth, discriminating between anthropic and natural soils We will study the effects of the main environmental parameters also considering their variation due to climate change on soil functionality. Laboratory activities will represent a relevant part of the course
L. Scarponi . Biochimica agraria. Patron ed.
Bosetto, Lozzi – Elementi di biochimica agraria. Aracne ed.
Scientific papers on the course topics will be given to the students.
Knowledge on soil management and its application to stressed soils, considering also it polluted soils bioremediation techniques . This body of knowledge represents an essential tool to understand the soil ecosystem evolution and to develop an eco-sustainable managing strategy to maintain soil functionality and consequentially increase the adaptability capacity of the forest ecosystems.
Skills acquired (at the end of the course): improvement of forestry management capacity
Knowledge of inorganic and organic chemistry, pedology, plant biochemistry, genetics and microbiology are required from students.
Frequency of lectures, practice and lab., although not compulsory, is recommended
Video projector, PC, overhead projector, labs
Type of Assessment
Oral examination on the subjects of lectures and laboratory, followed by an oral presentation on a topic chosen by student
First part ( 3 CFU)
We will consider soil as a complex biological system that permits the presence of life on Earth. We will discus the evolution of soil fertility distinguish between physical-chemical and biological fertility, focusing on the interactions and self-organization between minerals and microbe into soil-microbe complexes. We will also consider the different soil typology discriminating between those strictly related to anthropogenic activities and those related to natural conditions even extreme. We will focus on the different pathway to reach and maintain fertility by each of considered soils referring to the terms of soil functionality, resistance, resilience redundancy, genetic- stability, -plasticity and -erosion. We will then evaluate the relevance of the different adaptive strategy adopted by bacteria (r-k and bet hedging strategy) in terms of soil functionality.
We will evaluate the relevance of biogeography studies with metagenomic and metagenetic approaches to study the effects of the main environmental parameters on the soil biodiversity and functionality, and how to correlate them with animals and plant biodiversity. Then we will consider the utilization of bioindicators and biosensors to evaluate the environmental conditions and the presence and bioavailability of toxic compounds in soil. We will discuss on climate change attended impact on soil ecosystem. Finally we focus on the soil system capacity to control and attenuate the climate change effects, discussing on its capacity to regulate the emission of of the main greenhouse gasses.
Second part ( 3CFU)
The different topics of the course are discussed with expert researchers.
Moreover students attend to laboratory exercitations to determine soil texture, structure, pH, cation exchange capacity. Molecular techniques are also approached to monitor the soil biodiversity by extraction and purification of organic molecules from soil DNA and their downstream analysis.