Degree course: 
Corso di Second cycle degree in Biotechnology for the Bio-based and Health Industry
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (40 hours), Laboratory (12 hours)

Basic knowledge of Biochemistry, Fermentation Biotechnologies, Microbiology and Molecular Biology. For the lab activities: knowledge of the main techniques of industrial microbiology and fermentation (generally acquired during the bachelor)

Final Examination: 

The examination is an oral exam concerning both the theoretical and practical parts.
The aim is evaluating if the student has acquired the knowledge on main biosynthesis pathways and production processes for specialized metabolites and related drugs. Additionally, the student has to demonstrate a multidisciplinary and applicative attitude and an appropriate terminology. The student will have to answer to at least three questions, each of them contributing to the final score. The lab activity will be evaluated through a written scientific report of the experimental activities and its evaluation will be considered for the final score. The final score is given in 30ies: the examination is successful if a score ≥ 18/30 is gained in both the oral exam and in the lab report.

Voto Finale

The learning outcomes are the following:
- understanding and critically reviewing biotec processes and products through the comprehension of scientific texts (in English) and experimental data analysis
- using knowledge to evaluate the aims and/or the results of a fermentation process both on the qualitative and quantitative point of view, and proposing tools for improvements
- applying the knowledge in the field of microbial biotechnology to an industrial process
- conducting fermentations for producing bioactive products
- demonstrating effective communication skills with the experts using appropriate terminology
- demonstrating attitude to working in group in the lab conducting experiments and analyzing data

40 hours class including one trip to visit a research center or a pharma pilot plant (4 hours on site lesson and visit) for producing microbial sourced-drugs.
Accessing microbial chemical diversity for searching novel specialized metabolites
Research and Development of microbial sourced-drugs
Antibiotics and other specialized metabolites
Classical natural product screening and genome mining
Main classes of antibacterials (aminoglycosides, glycopeptides, lantibiotics, beta-lactams, macrolides etc), antifungals, statins, imunosupressors, anticancers; their mode of action and resistance; biosynthetic routes and gene clusters; regulation of their production
Production and strain improvement for specialized metabolite production; fermentation scaling up
Laboratory: 12 hours practical lab:
growth of actinomycetes producing glycopeptides in shake flasks and in fermentors, fermentation process, analysis of growth parameters, extraction of glycopeptides, analysis of production by HPLC, discussion of obtained results.

Slides, selected papers and lab notes available on the E-learning site
Books (only to consult them if needed)
- B.R.Glock and J.J.Pasternak, Biotecnologia molecolare, Zanichelli
- G.Lancini and R. Lorenzetti, Biotechnology of antibiotics and other bioactive microbial metabolites, Plenum Press
- Flavia Marinelli and Olga Genilloud, Antimicrobials: New and Old Molecules in the Fight against Multi-resistant Bacteria, Springer
- Antonio Moreira, Volume 3 Industrial Biotechnology and Commodity Products, Comprehensive Biotechnology, second edition, Elsevier


Lessons by the professor, by the visiting professors, by the experts during visiting pharma. The practical activities will be held in Microbial Biotec lab and Fermentation Unit in via Dunant, 3. During practical activities students, will be divided in small groups of 4-5, and each group will have a fermenter to conduct for antibiotic production. Before performing experiments, students will have the protocols necessary to follow the activities (fermenter start up, biomass production, HPLC analyses of antibiotics). Students have to bring calculator, appropriate stationery, lab coat. Professor and/or one or two assistants will be present in the lab to guarantee assistance. The participation at the practical activities is compulsory and absences are acceptable for a maximum of 25% of total hours.

Appointment with students agreed by e-mail message.