Università degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope"

Teaching schedule

Academic year: 
Belonging course: 
Course of Bachelor's Degree Programme on BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE
Disciplinary sector: 
Year of study: 
Second semester
Hours of front activity: 


Lectures in Italian

Course description

The course aims to stimulate the student to correlate the different scientific disciplines to explain the wide diffusion of microorganisms in natural environments. The topics covered during the course also allow us to understand the important ecological role played by microorganisms and their involvement in biogeochemical cycles. During the laboratory activities, the student is directly involved in the preparation of the culture media and in the isolation and counting of bacteria and fungi from soil and water samples.


In-depth knowledge of General Biology, General and Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry is required.


History of microbiology.
Structure and evolution of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa).
Bacteria, Archaea and microbial Eukarya.
Metabolic diversity of microorganisms: chemoorganotrophy, chemolitrophy, phototrophy, heterotrophy, autotrophy.
Observation techniques of microorganisms (light and electronic microscopy).
Structure and functions of Bacteria and Archaea: shape and size, cytoplasmic membrane and transport systems, cell inclusions, gas vesicles, cell wall, capsule. Microbial locomotion. Endospore.
Microbial nutrition: elemental composition of cell, energy sources (chemotrophs, phototrophs), carbon sources (autotrophs, heterotrophs), nutritional classification (chemoorganotrophs, chemolithotrophs, photoautotrophs, photoetherotrophs, chemoautotrophs, chemoheterotrophs, mixotrophs).
Microbial growth: bacterial cell division, growth of microorganisms, cultivation techniques and microbial counting. Factors that influence microbial growth (temperature, pH, availability of water, oxygen, salinity).
Microbial metabolism: bioenergetics, ATP synthesis, glycolysis, aerobic respiration and electron transport chain, proton motive force, anaerobic respiration, fermentation. Oxidation of organic and inorganic substrates, oxygenic and anoxygenic photosynthesis.
Microorganisms in natural environments: microorganisms as biogeochemical agents (carbon, nitrogen and sulfur cycles), extremophile bacteria. Biofilm and quorum sensing.
Molecular biology of prokaryotes: structure of DNA, chromosomes, nucleoid, plasmids, DNA replication, RNA synthesis (transcription), protein synthesis (translation).
Genetics of prokaryotes: mutations, gene transfer and recombination (transformation, transduction, conjugation).
Virus: structure, classification, reproduction, lytic cycle, lysogenic cycle.
Control of microbial growth: physical methods, chemical methods, antimicrobial drugs. Drug resistance.

The course aims to provide students with a basic knowledge of the structure and physiology of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and viruses), their diffusion in natural environments and their role in biogeochemical cycles. The course also deals with the genetic variability of microorganisms.

Teaching Methods

Frontal teaching: 66 h
Laboratory activity: 6 h


Student must choose one of the following textbooks:
1) Dehò, Galli – Biologia dei microrganismi – CEA, 2014.
2) Madigan, Martinko, Stahl, Clark - Brock – “Biologia dei microrganismi – vol. 1, microbiologia generale” e “Biologia dei microrganismi – vol. 2, microbiologia ambientale ” - Pearson, 2012.
3) Madigan, Martinko, Stahl, Bender, Buckley - Brock – “Biologia dei microrganismi - Microbiologia generale, ambientale e industriale” 14/E - Pearson, 2015.
4) Prescott – Willey, Sherwood, Woolverton – “Microbiologia generale” e “Microbiologia sistematica, ambientale, industriale” 7/ed – McGraw-Hill, 2009.
5) Wessner, Dupont, Charles – Microbiologia – CEA, 2015.

Learning assessment

Oral examination (italian/english)

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