Sustainable agriculture (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Claudio Zaccone
Claudio Zaccone
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre dal Oct 1, 2019 al Jan 31, 2020.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims at providing students with specific and deepened knowledge and comprehension capacity regarding plant productions to design and manage the innovation of agriculture production, from both qualitative and quantitative point of view, focused on a systemic approach to the soil quality, sustainable cultivations, and environmental impact. The main objective of the course is the understanding of the agricultural practices within circular productive processes for the valorization of waste products such as nutrients and bioactivators for the cultivations.


INTRODUCTION. Sustainability and sustainable development: journey 2050. The U.N. Sustainable development goals. “Dirt!”, a movie on the environmental, economic, social and political impact that soil has.
The soil system and ecosystem services. Sustainable utilization of the soil resource. Soil conservation. Agriculture vs. sustainability: background, problems and limitations, possible solutions. Main physical and chemical soil properties, and their influence on sustainable agriculture. Soil management for a sustainable agriculture.
UTILIZATION AND RECYCLE OF WASTE BIOMASS IN AGRICULTURE. Waste biomass types and main recycling techniques in agriculture. COMPOST: the composting process, matrices, techniques, applications, quality evaluation; compost and agro-environmental sustainability. BIOCHAR: from the Terra Preta do Indio to biochar, main chemical and physical features, advantages and disadvantages of biochar application in agricultural soils; biochar and agro-environmental sustainability. DIGESTATE: main chemical features, advantages and disadvantages of its application in agricultural soils; digestate and agro-environmental sustainability. RECYCLED BIOMASS: legislation and analytical methods of characterization.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Sequi P., Ciavatta C., Miano T. (a cura di) Fondamenti di chimica del suolo (Edizione 3) Pàtron 2017 9788855533621 Suggerito per la parte del programma riguardante le principali caratteristiche del sistema suolo.
Zaccone C. Materiale didattico fornito dal docente 2019 I files delle lezioni sono scaricabili in modalità e-learning.
Lal R., Horn R., Kosaki T. (Eds) Soil and sustainable development goals (Edizione 1) Catena Soil Sciences 2018 9783510654253 Suggerito per la parte del programma riguardante lo sviluppo sostenibile (SDGs).

Assessment methods and criteria

The final exam consists of an oral interview (ca. 30 min of duration; generally 3 questions) on the topics developed during the course and will aim to ascertain both the concepts learned and the ability to link them and discuss implications. The exam method is the same for attending and non-attending students.