Learning outcomes of the course unit
To introduce the students to the mostly unseen microbial world by showing them the importance of microbial activities in the biosphere.
Course contents summary
Lectures (5 credits)
Microbiological techniques: light and electron microscopy, simple and differential staining procedures. Structure of the microbial cells at different evolution levels (Eukarya, Bacteria, Archaea). Comparative analysis and description of structures and functions of procaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Microbial nutrition: common nutritional requirments, growth factors, nutrient uptake, culture media, sterilization, pure cultures. Microbial growth: influence of aerobiosis,anaerobiosis, temperature, pH etc. on microbial growth. Microbial population growth , methods for growth measurement, continuous coltures (chemostat and turbidostat). Microbial metabolism and metabolic diversity: energy production, aerobic and anaerobic respiration, fermentation, oxigenic and anoxigenic photosynthesis, chemolithoautotrophy. Biosynthesis. Metabolism regulation at transcriptional level, translational level, feed-back inhibition. Microbial genetics: bacterial genome, mutation and mutants, genetic recombination in prokaryotes (transformation, conjugation, transduction). Plasmids and transposable elements. Microbial evolution and systematics. Prokaryotic diversity (Bacteria and Archaea), Fungi, Algae, Protista and Viruses. Microbial growth control: antimicrobial drugs. Introduction to microbial ecology
Laboratory (1 credit)
Microbiology is a laboratory science, and the laboratory is an integral and important part of this course. Students will be trained in the basic skills needed to work with bacteria: proper use of the microscope, how to prepare stained slides, aseptic technique for transfer and inoculation of bacteria, use of various media to select, isolate, and characterize bacteria, bacterial growth requirments and growth curves.
Prescott, Willey, Sherwood, Woolverton “Microbiologia “ 7/ed McGraw-Hill Companies srl volumi 1-2-3(2009)
Tortora, Funke, Case "Elementi di Microbiologia" Pearson Education Inc.(2008)
Madigan et al. “Brock, Biologia dei Microrganismi” volumi 1-2-3 Casa Editrice Ambrosiana (2007)
5 credits (40 hrs) of frontal lessons and 1 credit (12-15 hrs) laboratory exercises. Two intermediate tests and a final oral exam