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: 
Supplementary compulsory subjects
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)

Pre-requisites are not required. Basic knowledge of Plant Biology, Plant biotechnology, Botany, Plant Ecology is recommended.

Final Examination: 

The student will have to show:
- to have thoroughly understood the topics covered (basic notional knowledge)
- to be able to identify correlations between the different topics covered, the basic knowledge learned, and their potential biotechnological applications
- to have the ability to critically analyze the applicative problems considered.
The learning assessment method consists of an oral interview of about 55 minutes to be held at the end of the course. The verification consists of about six questions, two per topic, one of which concerning basic notions and one concerning application problems or experimental examples taken from the scientific literature. The presentation done during the first part of the course on a selected topic will be evaluated by the professor for a maximum of 3 points taken into consideration for the final grade.

Voto Finale

The ‘Green Biomasses and Bioremediation’ course represents a necessary curricular completion for the student who wants to understand how a biotechnological-vegetable approach can ensure that economic and social development takes place within a context respectful of the most important ecological principles.
In particular, the course is based on theoretical lessons concerning the production of fuels and other derivatives from the treatment of plant material, and how plants can be used for the restoration of areas subject to severe degradation or pollution.
This course, therefore, aims to offer both the biological and molecular mechanisms that allow plant organisms to be applied for the purposes described above, and an overview of the various types of application, production techniques, and specifications of some primary and secondary products.
At the end of the course, the student will be able to:
- Design and illustrate recovery and restoration processes of degraded environments using plant organisms;
- Know and discuss the processes for the production of fuels from plant material as well as secondary derivative products;
- Discuss in an integrated way some fundamental elements of plant biology, environmental problems, and traditional techniques, to understand the biological-molecular basis relating to the two previous points;
- Critically understand a scientific text that deals with cellular, anatomical, and physiological properties of plant species to be used for biotechnological applications;
- Read, write, and present scientific information in English.

The lectures will deal with the following topics (6 credits, 48h):

Phytoremediation (2.5 CFU)
- History
- Plants and heavy metals
- Rhizosphere
- Techniques for land reclamation (physical, chemical, thermal, and biological)
- Different types of phytoremediation
- Bioremediation of heavy metal ions using algae
- Engineered plants in Phytoremediation
- Phytomining
- Plants in naturalistic engineering
- What biochar is and its use as amendment of polluted technosol

Phyto-purification (1 CFU)
- Background
- Different types of
- Functioning
- Applicative examples

Plant biomasses (2.5 CFU)
- Environmental frame (fossil fuels and background)
- Biological principles
- Molecular mechanisms of biomass increase in plants
- Traditional methods
- Forest biomass and agricultural waste (thermochemical process, pyrolysis, liquefaction, gasification)
- Algae biofuels (types of cultivation, extraction)
- Biochar for enhancing a carbon-negative agriculture

Given the advanced level of teaching an adequate textbook is not available. The slides of the lessons together with the lecture notes and the scientific articles presented will be available from the E-learning site.


The course consists of 48 hours of lectures supported by the projection of slides in PPT and PDF format. The aim of the course is also to enhance the student's self-learning skills by stimulating the search in the internet web for in-depth analyzes relating to specific aspects of the course. Also, students will be invited to select a specific topic related to the first part of the course (phytoremediation), analyzing in deep one or more scientific publications, and presenting briefly the main findings reported. This would enhance student's abilities for understanding and presenting a topic with a scientific approach. We also intend to carry out specific guided visits to industrial plants and/or polluted sites.

Preferably by appointment (by e-mail request) or at the end of each lesson. The teacher is available for in-depth meetings or clarifications on the topics, preferably for groups of students, in person, or via Microsoft Teams.