1. acquire knowledge of the fundamental role of microorganisms in ecosystems and of the factors affecting their distribution and interactions with other organisms:
- metabolic and functional biodiversity, structure and dynamics of microbial communities
- bacteria and archea taxonomic groups
2. knowledge of traditional, molecular and cultivation-independent methods for identification/typing and analysis of microbial populations
3. evaluation of the multiple potential applications of environmental microorganisms also as bioindicators
4. acquisition of critical skills by reading scientific articles.


teacher profile | materiale didattico


1. Evolution and systematic of microorganisms
Origin of bacteria; molecular phylogenesis; 16S rRNA gene and evolution; basis of microbial systematic
2. Metabolic diversity of microbes
Chemolitotrophy; fermentation; anaerobiosis; phototrophy
3. Functional diversity of microbes
Phototrophic and chemotrophic bacteria; bacteria in sulfur and nitrogen cycles
4. The principal phylogenesic groups of Bacteria
Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Ipertermofili
5. The principal phylogenetic groups of Archea
Phyla and evolution; Euryarchaeota;extremophiles
6. Methods in microbial ecology
Culture-based methods; functional analysis
Cultivation-independent techniques: microscope; genetic analysis; genome and metagenomic
7. Microbial ecosystems
Principles of ecology
Microbe environment: microbial interactions (Quorum sensing; Biofilm)
Terrestrial environment: soil
Aquatic environment: lakes, oceans
Extreme environments (deep sea; hydrothermal springs)
8. Microbial role in nutrient cycles
Carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, others
9. Symbiosis between microorganisms and between microorganisms and different organisms
Plants; rhizosphere; root nodules
Mammals; microbiome: bowel and rumen
10. Microorganisms in anthropized environments
Bioremediation of contaminated sites; water treatment; biocorrosion; mineral recovery from mines

Testi Adottati

Text book: Madigan et al., Brock Biology of microorganisms 14th edition

Bibliografia Di Riferimento

Articles from international scientific journals for in-depth study of the topics in the program and for the preparation of a single-theme presentation.

Modalità Erogazione

Frontal lectures. Monothematic presentations of scientific articles referred to the various topics in the program. Each student will be assigned the study of a topic and the preparation of the presentation. The articles are in English, the presentation is prepared in Italian or English. Microbiology seminar with bioinformatics exercise: DNA sequences study for taxonomic assignment. Practical exercises in the microbiology laboratory.

Modalità Frequenza

In consideration of the methods of performance, attendance is strongly recommended. For students who cannot attend classes, the exam procedures will be defined by contacting the professor.

Modalità Valutazione

Questions about the program, with reference also to scientific articles that will be indicated in class; in addition, the presentation in the classroom on the assigned topic is planned. For students who cannot attend classes, contact the professor.