Plant Biotechnology - BIOENERGIA E BIOCOMBUSTIBILI (2016/2017)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Roberto Bassi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I sem. dal Oct 3, 2016 al Jan 31, 2017.

To show the organization of the course that includes this module, follow this link * Course organization

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

The teaching module “biofuels” supplies basis for the identification and properties of fuels from different sources. Among these biofuels are considered in detail, namely bio-ethanol, bio.diesel and bio-hydrogen and the consequence of their use for environmental, production issues and vehicle traction. For each the production processes presently in use are defined as well as the biotechnological approach to their improvement with a major reference to crops, which are in common with food-producing processes (first generation biofuels). Furthermore, alternative sources of biomass are considered, having a lower dependence on food-producing processes. Particular emphasis is dedicated to unicellular algae and the procedures for quantitative and qualitative improvement of algal biomass through classical genetics and recombinant DNA procedures towards definition of a biofuel productive process economically sound and with low environmental impact.


1) definition of biofuels, biomass of origin. Bio-gas, bio-ethanol, bio-diesel and bio-hydrogen
2) Present procedures of production and legislation
3) Energy balance of photosynthetic organisms, upper limits of productivity, factors of loss of productivity, comparison with photovoltaics.
4) Crops as biomass for biofuels. Present state and perspectives for improvement in crops and wild type organisms.
5) Unicellular algae: advantages and disadvantages with respect to crops.
6) Biodiesel from algae
7) bio-hydrogen from algae
8) Molecular genetics in unicellular algae model system and productive systems. Procedures limiting engineering of algae.
9) Growth in photobioractors: different architevctures and limits for productivity.
10) Algae as CO2 scavengers.
11) Metabolic engineering of light use efficiency.
12) Lipid metabolism
13) electron transport and hydrogenases.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam will be made through the answer to multiple choice questions and short answers (10-15 lines) to questions. Evaluation can be improved through the oral presentation of an article from a list provided by the teacher.