The subject aims at provide students with knowledge on soil as a natural system, the importance and main drivers of the biogeochemical cycles of elements, interactions between soils and climate, and the role of soil in the equilibria of natural ecosystems and in agricultural production. The subject will also highlight the key soil properties and processes of responding to climate change, and considered in bio-economy estimations and in environmental legislation
P. Nannipieri (a cura di). Ciclo della sostanza organica nel suolo: aspetti agronomici, chimici, ecologici e selvicolturali. Editore: Pàtron, EAN: 9788855522434, ISBN: 8855522434
P. Sequi, Chimica del suolo. Patron Editore, Bologna, 1989
D.L. Sparks. Environmental Soil Chemistry Academic Press, 2003.
D.L. Winegardner. An Introduction to Soils for Environmental Professionals. CRC Press, 1995.
Swartjes F. (a cura di). Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment related to polluted soils. Springer, The Netherlands.
G. Certini, R. Scalenghe. Soils: Basic Concepts and Future Challenges. Cambridge University Press ISNB-13 978-0-521-85173-2.
Tecniche di Fitorimedio nella Bonifica dei Siti Contaminati. RECONNET
Additional documents will be assembled and distributed as course pack by the teacher.
The subject will train the students on the principles of environmental toxicology and pollutant chemistry, and the constituents of the soil system and environmental equilibria for site characterization environmental pollution and risk assessment. Current models in risk assessment and ecotoxicology, ecotoxicological tests, and biotechnologies for soil analysis will be explained in detail, including the potentials and current limitations of the biosensor technology and, its application to the analysis of contaminated soils and of agricultural soils.
The subject will illustrate to students the current technologies and biotechnologies available for remediation of polluted soils, with specific focus on the potentials of phytoremdiation as sustainable management of contaminated soils and sites, through the illustration of real case studies, and the main implication of soil remediation technologies in environmental legislation and in bioeconomy
Preliminary courses: no preliminary courses are required. Pass the exmination of all courses of the first semester is strongly recommended. Attendace of class lectured and laboratory trials is not compulsory but is stringly recommended.
Total hours of the course 48
Hours for private study and other personal formative activities: 96
Lecture hours 32
Laboratory hours: 12
Seminar hours: 4
Intermediate examinations: none
Teachings support tools: pc projector, pc. blackboard, chemical laboratories
Type of Assessment
Final oral examination on the course topics
Soil as natural system. The abiotic and biotic components of soil. The inorganic solid phases of soil: skeleton, sand, silt, clay minerals oxides and (hydro)oxides. The soil organic matter: chemical composition, fractions, processes and functions. The soil structure and the main processes regulated from the soil structure: formation of the structure, water infiltration and elements flows in the soil system.
The biotic component of soil: meso- and microfauna, fungi, bacteria, archaea, virus.
The soil determinants for the National and European environmental legislation and for bioeconomy. The soil thematic strategy of the European Union for soil protection: current European and national legislation for soil conservation.
The biochemical functions and the ecological processes of soil, forest and agro-ecosystems: the soil enzymatic activity, the decomposition of the organic matter and the nutrient mineralization processes, the biogeochemical cycles of the elements.
Methods of physical and chemical analysis of soil and soil processes. I use of the software for the study of speciation of the elements in the soil: I use of the models for the analysis of ion exchange processes (PHREEC speciation software) and for speciation of the metals (Visual MINTEQ software).
Effects of land management soil on soil impact to atmosphere. Impact of land use change and soil effects on climate change.
Gas exchange between soil and atmosphere: field and laboratory measurement methodologies, relation between management of the soil, activity and microbial diversity and emissions soil of gas and volatile organic compounds from soil.
Impact of the climatic changes on the soil biogeochemical cycles: option appraisal and current models of Carbon fluxes on the mid- and long term. Introduction to the dynamic of soil carbon models (RothC, Century).
Technologies applicable to the soil for protection of the atmosphere and the mitigation of the climatic changes: sustainable management of organic residues.
Biochar: definition, inclusion in the European and Italian legislation, effects on crop production, its use and management as a measure of climate change mitigation.
Soil pollution: definitions, European and Italian reference legislation. Soil pollution by agrochemicals, organic manure, and atmospheric deposition of industrial emission. Official analytical methods for the determination of the concentration and organic and inorganic pollutants in soil. Effects of pollution on the soil processes and soil fertility: chemical and biochemical methods for the analysis of the impact of pollution on soil organisms and on the soil biogeochemical processes, on soil fertility and ecological functions. Ecotoxicological tests.
Chemical biosensors and whole cell biosensors: definitions, biotechnologies available for the biosensor development. The concept of bioavailability in soil. Current perspectives of the use of the biosensors for the assessment of soil quality, of nutrient bioavailability and on the impact of soil pollution.
Use of chemical and ecotoxicological data for the risk assessment. Definition of analysis of risk, reference international and Italian legislation for the agricultural and forest systems. Methodologies of risk assessment.
Technologies and biotechnologies of remediation of polluted soils: potentials and limitations of the current technologies and biotechnologies for the sustainable management of contaminated soils and sites. The phytomanagement: principles and applications. Examples of application of the technologies to the remediation of polluted soils and relevant environmental legislation and bioeconomy.
Laboratory activity: official methods of soil sampling and analysis for the evaluation of soil fertility and soil pollution. Ecotoxicological tests for the analysis of soil pollution and as support tool to risk assessment and phytomanagement of polluted soils. Practice with software of chemical speciation (visual MINTEQ) and of risk analysis (RISKNET) on real case studies.
Seminars (depending on the regular course of the class lectures): environmental modelling for the analysis of the current trends of carbon stocks and fluxes, and effects on the climate change. Modelling of impacts of the soil pollution on soil biogeochemical processes the agricultural production.
Technical visits (depending on the availability of companies and regular course of the class lectures). Topics: i) the environmental analysis, ii) practical application of the technologies of soil remediation, iii) sustainable soil management and contaminated sites.