|SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR||BIO/19|
Microorganisms live everywhere, also in environments that are prohibitive for other living beings. Many microorganisms are essential to support life on Earth and greatly influence our activities; only a small fraction is pathogenic for animals and plants. The course examines the main properties of microorganisms, provides information on the different analysis tools necessary to investigate their activities and offers an overview on their practical applications
The course will provide students with basic knowledge on the world of microorganisms in relation to their cellular organization, metabolism, genetics and role in nature. Students will acquire the essential notions on the cellular and molecular basis of microbial pathogenicity, on the tools available for their control and on their applications in the fields of industrial and environmental microbiology. These objectives will be achieved through theoretical and laboratory lessons, the latter intended to facilitate learning and achieve basic knowledge of microbiological techniques.
Attending and participation in the planned activities will allow students to acquire the basic knowledge on the biology of microorganisms, their role in nature and the different applications in health, industrial and environmental fields. Specifically, students will be able
• to know the morphological, physiological, genetic and metabolic characteristics of microorganisms
• to know the distribution and role of microorganisms in the environment
• to know their interactions with other organisms including those leading to host damage
• to understand the mechanism of action of antimicrobials and molecular basis of microbial resistance
• to know applications of microorganisms and their products in health, industrial and environmental fields
• to apply the basic techniques for cultivation, analysis and identification of microorganisms in the laboratory
The course will provide the basis for further specialized studies in the field of molecular, environmental, food and health microbiology
Prerequisites are not needed but for a profitable and easy study of the discipline it is advisable to have acquired knowledge on organic chemistry, biological chemistry and molecular biology
The “Microbiology and laboratory” course is composed by both lectures (7 cfu) and a part of practical laboratory (1 CFU). Attendance at lessons is strongly recommended. Lectures in the classroom are delivered through multimedia presentations.
Attendance at the laboratory is mandatory. The laboratory exercises are aimed at the practical application of the knowledge acquired during the lectures. In particular, topics will be covered concerning the cultivation and staining of bacteria, their identification by biochemical tests, the evaluation of the concentration of bacteria and viruses in biological samples, the assessment of the sensitivity of bacteria to chemical and physical agents.
The laboratory exercises take place in a laboratory equipped with microscopes and all instruments needed for performing all the tests
The following topics will be presented and discussed:
INTRODUCTION TO MICROBIOLOGY
• Morphology and size. Bacterial stains
• Structure and functions of the bacterial cell: cytoplasm and its contents; nucleoid; cytoplasmic membrane; cell wall; glycocalyx; flagella; pili and fimbriae; endospore
• Nutrition and energy reactions.
• Bacterial division
• Factors influencing bacterial growth and evaluation of growth
• Culture media and bacterial cultivation.
• Ecological role of bacteria and biogeochemical cycles.
• Bacterial interactions
• Culture-independent assays to study bacteria
• Structure and functions of the cell.
• Diversity and ecological role
• Structure and functions of the eukaryotic cell and biodiversity
• Chemical composition and structure.
• Cultivation and evaluation of their concentration
• Characteristics of the viral infectious cycle.
• Lytic and lysogenic cycle of bacteriophages.
• Replication of DNA and RNA animal viruses.
• Cytopathic effect and principles of pathogenesis of viral infections
• The bacterial genome: core and pool of flexible genes.
• Plasmids and other mobile elements
• Horizontal gene transfer (transformation, transduction, conjugation) and its role in bacterial evolution
BACTERIAL PATHOGENICITY AND VIRULENCE
• Indigenous microbiota / microbiome; opportunism.
• Main steps of the pathogenic process and involved bacterial factors: adhesion, colonization, epithelial cell invasion, dissemination, resistance to phagocytosis, damage to the host (exo and endo toxins).
ANTIBACTERIAL AND ANTIVIRAL STRATEGIES
• Antibacterial drugs: antibiotics and other chemotherapeutics, selective toxicity, spectrum of activity, mechanism of action.
• Bacterial resistance to antibiotics: genetic bases and biochemical mechanisms.
• Antiviral drugs and interferon
• Vaccines: background, old and new-generation vaccines
• Historical background on the use of microorganisms for the production of goods and services
• Microbiology and biotechnology
• Fermentation, bioreactors, control and monitoring of fermentation, "scale up" process.
• Primary and secondary metabolites.
• Main products of industrial microbiology (amino acids, organic acids, polysaccharides, enzymes, antibiotics, microbial cells)
• Preparation of culture media for bacteria
• Microscopic observation of bacteria stained with Gram staining
• Cultivation of bacteria in pure culture
• Isolation of a bacterial strain and identification based on the analysis of the biochemical profile
• Quantification of culturable bacterial cells present in a sample (determination of colony forming units and evaluation of the "most probable number")
• Assessment of bacterial sensitivity to antibiotics by Kirby-Bauer test and evaluation of MIC ( minimum inhibitory concentration) and MBC (minimum bactericidal concentration)
• Evaluation of the sensitivity of a mesophilic bacterial strain (Escherichia coli as a model organism) to high temperature exposure
• Assessment of the host range of a bacteriophage
• Quantification of the number of viral particles present in a suspension by the method of the plaque-forming units (bacteriophage T7 as a model virus)
All slides used during lessons and other teaching materials will be available on AulaWeb or will be provided by the teachers at the end of each lesson cycle. The books below are suggested as supporting texts, but students can use other university level texts.
-"Brock - Biologia dei microrganismi. Microbiologia generale, ambientale e industriale" M.T. Madigan, J.M. Martinko, K. S. Bender, D.H. Buckley, e D.A. Stahl (2016) e "Brock - Biologia dei microrganismi. Microbiologia biomedica” M.T. Madigan, J.M. Martinko, D.A. Stahl e D.P. Clark (2012). Pearson Education
-“Biologia dei microrganismi” G. Deho ed E. Galli (2014) Casa Editrice Ambrosiana
Office hours: Meetings with students will be agreed directly with the teacher
LUIGI VEZZULLI (President)
For lessons start and timetable go to the link: https://easyacademy.unige.it/portalestudenti/
Please check the module Aulaweb page for timetable updates dependent on the sanitary and epidemic situation.
The exam consists of a first written part followed by an oral part. The first part consists of a test consisting of multiple choice questions on basic, very general topics of Microbiology covered during the course. If the student passes the written exam, he / she will take an oral examination, which consists in answering questions asked by the teacher on topics covered during the course. The final grade is based on the oral exam only. The oral exam can be sustained in the same call of the written test or in the other calls of the same exam session, published on the UNIGE website. Three calls will be available in the winter session (January-February) and 3 calls in the summer session (June, July, September
Information on how to prepare for the exam and the level of detail required for each topic, for both the written and oral exams, will be provided during the lessons. Both the written and oral exams will focus on topics covered in class. The written exam, based on simple questions on very general and basic subjects of Microbiology, will have the purpose of assessing whether the student has reached a minimum level of knowledge. The oral examination will have the purpose to evaluate not only if the student has reached an adequate level of knowledge, but also if he/she has acquired the ability to recall the theoretical notions by applying them to simple concrete contexts. The ability to expose the arguments clearly and with correct terminology will also be evaluated
Regular attendance at lessons is strongly recommended