Plant physiology - Photosynthesis and stress. (2020/2021)

Course code
Roberto Bassi
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Teaching is organised as follows:
Activity Credits Period Academic staff Timetable
teoria 5 I semestre Roberto Bassi

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laboratorio 1 I semestre Roberto Bassi

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Learning outcomes

The course is intended to offer an integrated view of some fundamental aspects of the primary and secondary metabolism of plants and their integration and mutual influence. The course aims to define some of the main metabolic pathways and to provide the basis for metabolic analysis using biochemical, genetic and biophysical methods. Theoretical basics will be supplemented by the illustration of biotechnological applications of the engineering of the metabolic pathways involved. Particularly important will be the inhibition of photosynthesis by oxygen and its consequences for the productivity of algae and crops. Finally, the biogeochemical carbon cycle will be discussed. Prerequisites:courses of general biochemistry, genetics.


Program of the course 1) Distinctive characteristics of bioenergetics of animals and plants. Structure and distribution of genes for mobility and coordination functions (animals) with respect to (biosynthesis of secondary metabiies (plants). Consequences of mobility towards stationarity for organisms in relation to the intensity of the energy source and environmental conditions. 2) Chlorophyll biosynthesis. 3) Carotenoid biosynthesis. 4) Plant cell structure with particular reference to mitochondria and chloroplasts. Structure of the tilakoidal membranes biogenesis of respiratory and photosynthetic systems. 5): Light as a source of energy and information in plants: primary and secondary metabolism control mechanisms 6): Electron transport and ATP synthesis in bacteria, green algae and top plants. Cyclic and linear transport. Alternative routes of electronic transport. 7) Electronic Transport Control. Controlling and adjusting the absorption of light between the two photojours. Thermal dissipation and photoprotection. 8) Carbon Fixation: Calvin Cycle, Hatch et Slack Cycle, CAM metabolism. Perspectives of modification of carbon myrtenia in cultivated plants. 9) Biosynthesis and mobilization of starch in chloroplast and leukoplasts. Metabolic reactions between chloroplast and cytoplasm. Sugar transport to the plant. 10) Hydrogen metabolism as a source of energy. Hydrogenases in green algae, cyanobacteria and thermophilic bacteria. Hydrogen production bioenergetics. 11) Nitrogen Metabolism. Symbiotic and bacterial fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. Organizing the nitrogen. Essential amino acid biosynthesis. 12): Sulfur Metabolism. Methionine and cysteine biosynthesis. Glutathione, phytochelatine and detoxification of xenobiotic substances. Herbicides and pollutants. 13) Inhibition photosynthesis by oxygen and consequences for the productivity of algae and cultivated plants 14) Secondary mycalgia. The plant as a programmable biosynthetic machine. A): terpeneoids. Biotechnology of caroteneids for the production of dyes, vitamins and antioxidants. 15): Biosynthesis and lipid degradation. Role in adapting plants to temperature. Lipids as substrate for signal translation and biosynthesis of jasmonic acid. Bibliography : Buchanan, Gruissem & Jones: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants. Taiz & Zeiger: Plant Physiology. Bibliografia : Buchanan, Gruissem & Jones : Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants. Taiz & Zeiger : Plant Physiology.

Assessment methods and criteria

The examination will be organized in two parts:

a) Written with a series of multiple choice questions, assisted by a question of describing a metabolic pathway in details including formulas, enzymes that catalyze reactions, and what are the kinetically limiting steps.

b) Oral in which the topics discussed in the lessons will be discussed.

Reference books
Activity Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
teoria B.B. Buchanan, W. Gruissem & R.L. Jones Biochemistry & Molecular Biology of Plants American Society of Plant Physiology 2000 0-943088
teoria a cura di Buchanan B.B., Gruissem W., Jones R.L., Zanichelli Editore. “Biochimica e Biologia Molecolare delle Piante”  
teoria Taiz L. Zeiger E. Elementi di Fisiologia Vegetale Piccin 2013
laboratorio Bassi e altri Biochimica (Edizione 1) edi-ermes 2019 978-88-7051-536-7