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
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)

Basic knowledges of General Microbiology, Genetics, Biochemistry and Molecular biology, usually acquired with bachelor degree, are needed.

The exam will evaluate the learning assessments through both communication skills: oral and written. Both are mandatory to pass the final exam.
1) Oral part: at the end of the course students will present a short communication (15 min) as part of a team (3 students). They will choose a topic related to the applicative fields of microbiology already proposed in the course or new ones. In this presentation, they will have to demonstrate the ability to read microbiological bibliography in a critical manner and communicate results and personal considerations with appropriate terminology. The suggestion of new and potential use of microorganisms and/or of their products will be greatly appreciated. The presentation contributes for 25% of the final score (8/30).

2) Written form consists of two main questions. The first question will be related to the first part of the course (Molecular Microbiology). It will permit to evaluate the acquired ability in describing at a molecular level microbial regulatory networks and strategies used by model microorganisms to face environmental stressors. The second question on Applied Microbiology (second part of the course) will be aimed at showing the link between bacterial physiology and biotechnological applications. The written exam contributes for 75% of the final score (24/30).

Both parts (oral and written) are mandatory to pass the final exam. The grades are expressed on a scale of 30/30, 18 being the passing grade. The sum of the grades of the two parts is equal to 32 (corresponding to a final grade of 30 cum laude)

Voto Finale

Microorganisms are fundamental for most biotechnological applications. The invention and develop of new biotechnology fields depend from the increasing knowledge of molecular processes of prokaryotic world. Thus, the aim of the course is to focus the attention on microorganisms and get the molecular basis of representative strategies that permit them to adapt to new and different environmental conditions. These molecular bases are necessary to understand and appreciate the several examples of biotechnological applications that will be described. To this extent, the course will complete the competences of a professional figure ready to use microorganisms as adaptable cell machineries for producing public goods or as part of systems in different industrial contexts (bioremediation, bioconversion, prebiotic and probiotic, biosensors, tissue and fashion, cosmetics).
The expected learning outcomes, at the end of the course, are the following:
1) Explain the regulatory networks underlying bacterial physiology.
2) Describe at a molecular level the most important strategies used by model microorganisms to face environmental stressors and changing conditions.
3) Link the physiological roles of known microbial products and/or processes with their use in different biotechnological fields.
4) Design the strategies useful to identify, produce and purify the right bacterial compounds for the desired applications.
5) Suggest new and potential uses of microorganisms and/or of their products to respond to specific human needs
6) Evaluate microbiological bibliography in a critical manner and communicate results and personal considerations with appropriate terminology.

The course will be delivered as lessons (6 CFUs, 48 hours) delivered in class and/or on line, depending from active rules. Few seminars by experts will complete the lectures.
The course will be planned in the two following parts:

A) Molecular Microbiology (3 CFUs).

- A view of the general control of gene expression, bacterial operons and regulons.
- Environmental sensing and signal transduction to the following stimuli:
1) Nutritional and energy requirements
2) Stress responses (i.e. DNA damage, oxidative stress, heat shock).
3) Bacterial social behavior (i.e. bacterial programmed cell death, Quorum sensing, Biofilm development)
4) Development processes (Regulation of sporulation, virulence).

B) Applied Microbiology (3 CFUs).

In this part the student will be guided through an ideal journey through the world of microorganisms and bacterial products, focusing the attention on chosen pathways and secondary metabolites. Furthermore, different techniques based on natural producers, heterologous hosts or isolated enzymes will be proposed to obtain microbial add-value products in several application fields of biotechnology:
- Bioremediation
- synthesis of add-value compounds
- biodeterioration and biocleaning of artworks, biomaterials in green building
- tissues and fashion
- cosmetics
- microbiota and probiotics
- antimicrobial applications
- innovative approaches (CRISPR, System biology)


The course consists in 48 hours of frontal lessons. Few specialized seminars by experts will be planned to offer a more in-depth view of topics. For each lesson, power point slides will be used to show the subject. Schemes, images, figures and graphs from original papers or reviews will be shown. When possible, movies will be used to show techniques and experimental experiences linked to the topics of both parts of the course: Molecular Microbiology and Applied Microbiology. The interaction with students will be favored, especially in the second part of the course, by open discussion on selected topics, sharing ideas and proposals on microorganisms and biotechnological applications.

The teacher is available for any information related to the course by e-mail appointment (