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: 



Course description

knowledge and understanding
The course aims to provide a basic knowledge of the evolution, structure, metabolic versatility, genetic variability and diffusion of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and viruses) in natural environments.
Applying knowledge and understanding
The course is structured in lectures and laboratory activities that aim to arouse curiosity and interest in the student towards issues concerning the world of microorganisms.
At the end of the course, the student will have acquired knowledge to understand the important ecological role played by microorganisms, their involvement in biogeochemical cycles and the importance of microorganisms in sustaining life on earth.
Making judgments
At the end of the course the student will have acquired the ability to independently assess the ecological importance and the diffusion strategies in the environment of microorganisms.
Making Judgments will be acquired through the study and understanding of scientific texts and publications. The achievement of adequate autonomy will be verified through the discussion during the lessons, the tutoring meetings, and the final profit exam.
Communication skills
At the end of the course the student will be able to express himself with appropriate language the main features of prokaryotic cells and viruses, the factors that influence microbial growth, the processes underlying energy metabolism and the bases of genetic variability.
The achievement of an adequate level of communication skills will be assessed during the lessons and the final exam.
Learning skills
At the end of the course, the student will have acquired knowledge to undertake further in-depth studies on Microbiology, also with an interdisciplinary approach. The consultation of materials other than those proposed during the course (bibliographic material, databases, information available on the web) will allow to deepen the topics covered during the lessons and to apply the acquired knowledge to different contexts.


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


History of microbiology.
Evolution and structure of microorganisms: biological molecules; characteristics of living systems; prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms (Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya).
Structural and metabolic diversity of microorganisms: prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells; chemoorganotrophy; chemolitrophy; phototrophy; heterotrophy; autotrophy.
Observation techniques of microorganisms: light and electronic microscopy (TEM, SEM).
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; 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: tructure; classification; reproduction; lytic cycle; lysogenic cycle.
Control of microbial growth: physical methods; chemical methods; antimicrobial drugs; drug resistance.
Microbial applications: role of microorganisms on wastewater treatment; biogas production.
Laboratory activities: culture media preparation; pre-treatment and inoculum of environmental samples (soil, water); enumeration of bacteria and fungi; Gram staining; observation of microorganisms under microscope.

History of microbiology (2 h).
Evolution and structure of microorganisms (4 h).
Structural and metabolic diversity of microorganisms (5 h).
Observation techniques of microorganisms (2 h).
Structure and functions of Bacteria and Archaea (6 h).
Microbial nutrition (2 h).
Microbial growth (3 h).
Microbial metabolism (18 h).
Microorganisms in natural environments (2 h).
Molecular biology of prokaryotes (2 h).
Genetics of prokaryotes (6 h).
Virus (4 h).
Control of microbial growth (6 h).
Microbial applications (4 h).
Laboratory activities (6 h).

Teaching Methods

Frontal teaching: 66 h
Laboratory activity: 6 h


Student must choose one of the following textbooks:
Madigan, Bender, Buckley, Sattley, Stahl - Brock Biology of Microorganisms, 15th edition, Published by Pearson.
Wessner, Dupont, Charles – Microbiology – Wiley.

Learning assessment

Oral examination (italian/english)

More information

Lectures are in Italian. The professor is available to interact with students in English, also during the examination.