Biochemistry and physiology of plant-soil interaction (2012/2013)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Zeno Varanini
Zeno Varanini
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre dal Oct 1, 2012 al Jan 31, 2013.

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

Aim of the course is to introduce the students to the knowledge of the different plant responses to modifications in soil conditions like: nutrients fluctuations, anomalous ions concentrations, pH, presence of organic molecules, microorganisms etc. All these themes will be approached at molecular, biochemical and physiological levels. We intend to give an integrated view on the dynamics taking place at the rhizosphere involving roots cellular activities and possible metabolic modifications.


Soil constituents: Structure and properties of soil minerals and soil organic matter. The origin of charges on the surphace of solid components. Cation and anion exchange capacity. Soil pH. The carbon cycle in the soil. The functions of soil organic matter. Movement of nutrient in the soil. The rhizosphere. Fate of nutrients macro-(N, P, K, Mg, Ca) and micro-(Fe, Zn, Mn, B) nutrients in the soil-plant system: chemical, biochemical and molecular aspects. Adaptive responses of plants to adverse soil conditions: acidic soils, alkaline and calcareous soils.
The course will include lab experiences on analysis and characterization of main physiological, biochemical and molecular mechanisms involved in plant nutrition. Plants grown in controlled environments, and in stress-inducing condition, will be employed

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination