Sustainable agriculture (2020/2021)

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

Go to lesson schedule

esercitazioni 1 I semestre Claudio Zaccone

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

Modern agriculture has a huge impact on the environment, e.g., contributing to climate change and soil/water quality. The goal of the course is to provide fundamental knowledge about farming systems allowing to meet society's present food and textile needs, without compromising the ability for current or future generations to meet their needs. In particular, the course is focused on the role that soil plays within the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030), the sustainable utilization of soil resource, sustainable agricultural practices, and the sustainable and safe use/valorisation of waste biomass in agriculture.


INTRODUCTION. Sustainability and sustainable development: journey 2050. The U.N. Sustainable development goals.
The soil system and ecosystem services. Sustainable utilization of the soil resource. Soil conservation. Agriculture vs. sustainability: background, problems and limitations, possible solutions. Main physical and chemical soil properties, and their influence on sustainable agriculture. Soil management for a sustainable agriculture.
UTILIZATION AND RECYCLE OF WASTE BIOMASS IN AGRICULTURE. Waste biomass types and main recycling techniques in agriculture. COMPOST: the composting process, matrices, techniques, applications, quality evaluation; compost and agro-environmental sustainability. BIOCHAR: from the Terra Preta do Indio to biochar; main chemical and physical features; advantages and disadvantages of biochar application in agricultural soils; biochar and agro-environmental sustainability. DIGESTATE: main chemical features; advantages and disadvantages of its application in agricultural soils; digestate and agro-environmental sustainability. RECYCLED BIOMASS: legislation and analytical methods of characterization.
VISIT to composting and/or anaerobic digestion plants.

Assessment methods and criteria

The final exam consists of an oral interview (ca. 30 min of duration; generally 3 questions) on the topics developed during the course and will aim to ascertain both the concepts learned and the ability to link them and discuss implications. The exam method is the same for attending and non-attending students.