Physiology of higher plants (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Tiziana Pandolfini
Tiziana Pandolfini
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre dal Oct 1, 2020 al Jan 29, 2021.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The objective of the course is the acquisition of the theoretical fundamentals of plant physiology.
After attending the course, the students will be able to understand the principal plant metabolic processes and the physiological and molecular mechanisms regulating growth and development, and response to the environment.


Water transport in plants: chemical properties of water, mechanisms of water transport.
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.
Mineral nutrition: the essential mineral nutrients, transport of mineral ions across membranes, membrane transport proteins, effects of mineral deficiencies.
Photosynthesis: the light reactions: general concepts , the photosynthetic apparatus, light absorption, electron transport and ATP synthesis. The Calvin-Benson cycle and its regulation. Photorespiration. C4 and CAM metabolisms. Starch and sucrose synthesis and hydrolysis.
Translocation in the phloem: the sink-source concept, phloem loading and unloading, allocation and partitioning of phosynthates.
Respiration: general concepts and unique features of respiratory metabolism in plants
Assimilation of nitrogen, sulphur and phosphate. Biological nitrogen fixation.
Plant growth and development: signal transduction in plants, cell division and cell expansion, embryogenesis, meristematic tissues, plant life cycles.
Photoresponses: phytochrome, phytochrome-induced responses and molecular mechanisms. Blu-light responses and photoreceptors.
Phytohormones: biosynthesis, physiological effects and molecular modes of action of auxin, cytokinin, gibberellins, ethylene, abscisic acid , brassinosteroids, polyamines, jasmonic acid.
Examples of genetic engineering applications to crop improvement.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Taiz L. e Zeiger E. Fisiologia Vegetale Piccin-Nuova Libraria   9788829921577

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam will ascertain:
Students’ knowledge on the topics of the lectures;
The language accuracy used to communicate the knowledge acquired;
The ability to link the knowledge acquired to potential biotechnological applications
For both attending and non-attending students, the oral examination will concern the topics discussed in the lessons and covered in the text book.