Microbial biotechnologies (2016/2017)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Giovanni Vallini
Giovanni Vallini
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II sem. dal Mar 1, 2017 al Jun 9, 2017.

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

This Course is designed to analyze both theoretical bases and criteria for the application of microbial systems to the production of compounds of economic interest, the recovery and production of energy from biomass or organic by-products and residues, the treatment of waste, and the environmental bioremediation. Based on the wealth of cognitions acquired while attending previous classes of microbiology content, students will address issues dealing with the properties of microorganisms, both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, including bacteria, archaebacteria, yeasts, filamentous fungi and - in a distinct position because of their non-cell structure – viruses, with reference to their potential technological exploitation. Microorganisms will mainly be considered as biological catalysts with specific biosynthetic properties and/or possible ability to carry out transformation/degradation reactions either in confined environments (bioreactors) or in open contexts. Discussion will focus on the procedures aimed at controlling and optimizing the bioprocesses of interest.


SYLLABUS – 1. Back references to microbial diversity and taxonomy ; 2. Biocatalysts in organic chemical synthesis ; 3. SCP (single cell protein) production with bacteria ; 4. Yeasts and unicellular algae for SCP production ; 5. Production of organic acids with particular emphasis to citric acid ; 6. Enzymes of microbial origin ; 7. Microbial polysaccharides e polyesters ; 8. Microbial degradation of biopolymers: starch, cellulose and lignin ; 9. Microbial production of amino acids ; 10. Microbial transformation of lipids and sterols ; 11. Microbial degradation of xenobiotic compounds in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions ; 12. Microbiology of wastewater depuration ; 13. Principles of composting ; 14. Anaerobic digestion of biomass ; 15. Bioleaching and biomining for the recovery of metals; 16. Industrial production of edible mushrooms; 17. Exercises for the estimation of both efficiency of microbial growth and product formation within industrial fermentations.

SUGGESTED TEXTBOOKS - Manual of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (3rd Edition) – 2010 Richard H. Baltz, Julian E. Davies, Arnold L. Demain ASM Press, ISBN: 978-1-55581-512-7. Microbial Biotechnology - Fundamentals of Applied Microbiology (2nd Edition) – 2007 Alexander N. Blazer, Hiroshi Nikaido Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 978-0-521-84210-5.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Michael J. Waites, Neil L. Morgan, John S. Rockey, Gary Higton Industrial Microbiology: An Introduction (Edizione 1) Wiley-Blackwell 2001 978-0-632-05307-0
Alexander N. Glazer, Hiroshi Nikaido Microbial Biotechnology - Fundamentals of Applied Microbiology (Edizione 2) Cambridge University Press 2007 9780521842105

Assessment methods and criteria

Written final examination.