Learning outcomes of the course unit
The student should be able to understand any information related to production and processing techniques, breeding and quality and nutritional properties of plant food products, and to apply to such products knowledge, technologies and management methods learnt from other teachings. He will also be able to autonomously evaluate the reliability of related information coming from various sources, and to communicate his jugement of products in an effective and scientifically correct manner.
Course contents summary
Agronomy and plant breeding. Climate. Plant protection.
Biology, management and quality features of the main food crops.
INTRODUCTION TO PLANT PRODUCTION. Factors of production. Origins of agriculture and of cultivated crops. Yield and quality.
CLIMATE. Radiation. Temperature. Damage from temperature excesses and defense. Rain, hail, snow, dew.
PLANTS AND WATER
PLANTS AND MINERAL ELEMENTS. Nitrogen. Phosphorus. Potassium. Calcium. Magnesium. Sulphur. Manganese. Boron. Zinc. Copper. Molibden. Clorine. Excess and deficiency. Antagonisms. Interactions. Root absorption, selectivity. Plant responses to the main elements, and factors influencing it.
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT. Development and repartition of dry matter. Analysis of growth.
ROOT SYSTEMS. Development of the root system of field and fruit crops. Distribution of roots in the soil. Root system and soil management. Methods to study the root system.
PLANT BREEDING. Propagation systems and plant genetical features. Breeding techniques. Genetic manipulations (mutagenesis, hybridation, transformation). Selection strategies. Biodiversity.
SEED PROPAGATION. Seed characteristics and germination in field crops. Dormancy. Sowing and sowing machines.
AGAMIC PROPAGATION. Apomixy. Layering and other traditional techniques. Cuttings and grafting. Micropropagation. Nursery.
FERTILIZATION. The main available mineral fertilizers. Organic fertilizers. Fertigation.
WEEDS AND HERBICIDES. Agronomical and chemical protection. Effects of herbicides and their behavior in the soil.
SOIL: PHYSICAL, CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL PROPERTIES.
TILLAGE. Preparatory and complementary tillage. Plow and plowing. Other tillage tools. Alterantive techniques.
PRODUCTION SYSTEMS. Monoculture, polyculture; intercropping; crop rotation. Organic farming. Cover crops.
PLANT AND SOIL WATER. Hydrologic cycle. Goals of soil water management. Irrigated crop production.
PRUNING. Physiology of pruning. Pruning operations. Training systems.
HARVESTING AND STORAGE OF CROPS. Growth and harvest of grain and forage crops Harvest of horticultural crops: criteria for the choice of harvest time, and harvest techniques. Physiologyy of fruit maturation and ripening. Post-harvest physiology. Storage techniques: refrigeration, controlled atmosphere, other techniques.
PESTS IN CROP PRODUCTION. Classification of plant diseases. Insect pests, Non pathogenic diseases. Principles and methods of pest management. Integrated pest management.
Cereals (wheat, barley, oats, maize, rice)
Grain legumes (soy, bean, pea, chickpea).
Tuber or root amilaceus plants: Potato, Cassava, Sweet potato.
Vegetables: Toamto, onion, cabbage, lettuce.
Spices: pepper, chilli pepper, vanilla, cinnamon, etc.
Drinks: Coffee, tea, cocoa; wine grape.
Sugar plants: Sugarcane, sugarbeet.
Oil plants: Olive, oil palm, sunflower, canola.
Fruit plants: flower and fruit biology; pruning and training systems. Biologia fiorale e della fruttificazione: fase giovanile, ciclo della fioritura,
Main fruit types. Growth and maturation of the fruit; main fruit modification during ripening, and ripening indexes. Fruit storage; fresh cut fruit.
Fresh fruit: Apple, peach, grapevine, citrus, banana, coconut, mango, avocado, etc.
Nuts: Almond, cashew, hazelnut, pistachio, walnut
For each species several aspects will be considered:
- botanical: with special reference to the parts utilized as food.
- genetical: origin and distribution of species and cultivars, their adaptation and quality features.
- importance in Italy and in the world
- cultivation: main techniques adopted, and their effect on product quality
- transformation and storage: techniques adopted in farm, for conditioning and storage of products.
For the first part reference must be made to the text: Fabbri A., 2001 - Produzioni Vegetali, Edagricole, available online for registered students. For part two the Powerpoint presentations should be followed, to be completed by utilizing the following texts:
Giardini L., 2012 - L'Agronomia. 6 ed. – Patron, Bologna.
- Sansavini S. (ed.), 2012 - Arboricoltura Generale. Pàtron, Bologna
Baldoni R., Giardini L., 2000 - Coltivazioni erbacee. Pàtron, Bologna (Vol. I, Cereali e proteaginose; Vol. II, Piante oleifere ecc.);
Sansavini S., Ranalli P., 2012 - Manuale di ortofrutticoltura. Edagricole, Bologna
Lectures, to comply with the program; technical visits to orchards, nurseries and in farm processing plants
Assessment methods and criteria
Oral exam. The examination is divided in two parts as to the program; the first part can be discussed separately before the final exam when, besides verifying the acquisition of basic knowledge, the capacity to connect the first part with one or more food crops will be evaluated. The final score will be determined for the 2/3 by the ability to establish such connection.