Plant biology and physiology (2019/2020)

Course code
Tiziana Pandolfini
Teaching is organised as follows:
Unit Credits Academic sector Period Academic staff
FISIOLOGIA VEGETALE 6 BIO/04-PLANT PHYSIOLOGY See the unit page See the unit page

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide an overview of the structure and organization of plant organisms at different levels, corresponding to the cellular, tissue and organ level and in the whole plant in its environment and to provide the basis for their functioning. At the end of the course the student will be able to associate the function to the structure of the different plant organs and will acquire the theoretical bases to be applied to the study of grape cultivation.


Program 1) The plant cell: -the membrane system; -the cytosol and the ribosomes; -the cell wall; -cytoskeleton; -endomembrane and secretory pathway; -the vacuole and the cell expansion process; -plastids and mitochondria; - the nucleus, mitosis and meiosis, the cytokinesis. 2) The plant tissues -primary and secondary meristems; -parenchymatic tissues; -integumental tissues; -conducting and supporting tissues; -secretory tissues. 3) The plant anatomy and overall organization -The shoot and its development; -the stem, primary and secondary organization; -the leaves and their adaptation to the environment; -the root and its development; -flowers, fruits and seeds; -reproductive botany.

Water transport in plants: chemical properties of water, water and solute transport processes. Water balance of plants: movement of water in the soil, water absorption by roots, water transport through the xylem, transpiration and stomatal movements, control of stomatal opening. Water stress: physiological responses to drought. Photosynthesis: general concepts of light reactions and carbon reactions. Starch and sucrose synthesis. Translocation in the phloem: phloem loading and unloading, the sink-source concept, allocation and partitioning of phosynthates. General concepts of genetic information, gene expression and signal transduction pathways in eukaryotes. Photomorphogenesis: phytochrome, phytochrome responses, cellular and molecular mechanisms. Blu-light responses. Phytohormones: biosynthesis, physiological effects and molecular modes of action of auxin, cytokinins, gibberellins, ethylene, abscisic acid , brassinosteroids, polyamines, jasmonic acid. Laboratory To acquire knowledge about some experimental techniques used in plant physiology. Use of reporter genes for gene expression analysis with particular attention to the study of hormone distribution in response to different stimuli; Agrobacterium tumefaciens as natural genetic engineer: generation of transgenic plants by Agrobacterium and biolistic methods. Introduction to in vitro culture of plant tissues. Practical work 1) Measurement of water potential in plant tissues. 2)The effects of auxin on adventitious root formation.

Assessment methods and criteria

The examination will be an oral test aimed to verify : -the ability to recognize plant anatomical and histological structures; this test will be performed through the description of an anatomical/histological structure, included in the Plant Anatomical Atlas (author: Flavia Guzzo), which is supplied free of charge to the students through the e.learning platform of UNIVR; -the overall degree of knowledge of the subject of this course; -the scientific language skills.

The exam will ascertain:
Students’ knowledge on the topics of the lectures;
The language accuracy used to expose the arguments;
The ability to link the knowledge acquired to what learned from the Plant Biology course.
The exam will focus on the topics discussed in the lessons and covered in the text book.
For attending students the exam can be held orally, or limited to the first exam session (June), also in writing. The written exam will consist of two tests of eight open questions, each question with a maximum score of 4. The final grade will be the arithmetic mean of the marks obtained in the individual tests. For non-attending students the exam will be exclusively oral.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Taiz L. Zeiger E. Elementi di Fisiologia Vegetale Piccin 2013
N. Rascio Elementi di Fisiologia Vegetale EdiSES 2012 9788879597104
J D Mauseth Botanica Fondamenti di biologfia delle piante Idelson-Gnocchi 2014 9788879475822
Gabriella Pasqua e altri Botanica generale e diversità vegetale Piccin 2011 9788829920600
Pancaldi et al Fondamenti di Botanica generale (Edizione 2) McGrawHill 2019 9788838695360