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CODE 80798
SEMESTER 1° Semester
Propedeuticità in ingresso
Per sostenere l'esame di questo insegnamento è necessario aver sostenuto i seguenti esami:


The knowledge of Industrial Microbiology and Fermentation Biotechnology is of fundamental importance for the formation of Biotechnology graduates. The aim of the course is to illustrate biotechnology processes and principles that underline the microbial or enzymatic productions of metabolites of interest in various industrial sectors, mainly the biomedical, pharmaceutical, food, energy, fine chemical and environmental ones.



Industrial Microbiology The course aims to provide the concepts needed for a good knowledge of the microbial strains used in the fermentation processes. Fermentation Chemistry The course aims to provide the concepts needed for a good knowledge of fermentation processes. Particular attention is paid to the principles and technological aspects of industrial fermentations


Part of “Industrial Microbiology”. The course aims to provide the concepts needed for a good knowledge of the microbial strains used in the fermentation processes.

Part of “Fermentation Biotechnology”. The course aims to provide the concepts needed for a good knowledge of fermentation processes.

At the end of the course, the student must be able to understand the metabolism of microorganisms used in Industrial Microbiology and Fermentation Biotechnology, know the operating modes of related processes (batch, fed-batch and continuous operations), choose the most suitable types of plants, the culture media and, where required, the downstream processes for metabolites recovery. The achievement of these results will be evaluated and measured through the final exam.

The laboratory activities to be carried out in teams have the purpose of providing transversal skills in terms of communication and ability to work in teams.


For a successful learning, basic knowledge of biology, biochemistry and mathematics is required


Frontal lessons and laboratory training. These didactic activities, and in particular the laboratory ones, which will be held at the end of the lectures, are set up in such a way as to stimulate the critical sense and the ability to solve the specific problems inherent to the chosen topics. The verification of these objectives will also emerge from the choice and structure of the reports for the final exam.

Any student with documented Specific Learning Disorders (SLD), or with any special needs, shall reach out to the Lecturer(s) and to the dedicated SLD Representative in the Department before class begins, in order to liase and arrange the specific teaching methods and ensure proper achievement of the learning aims and outcomes.


Module “Industrial Microbiology”

1) Microorganisms and production processes. 2) Isolation of industrial microorganisms, production strains. 3) Materials for culture media, sources of carbon and nitrogen. 4) Development of the composition of industrial culture media, optimization techniques. 5) Mutants for industrial use and mutagenesis techniques. 6) Long term storage  of cells, cell banking of industrial strains. 7) Development of shake-flask process, the role of oxygenation. 8) Growth of microorganisms: bacteria, actinomycetes, yeasts and fungi, biomass measurement techniques. 9) Analysis of Scale Up process: vegetative stage, prefermentation stage, production stage. 10) Industrial techniques of the production phase: Batch, Fed-batch systems, flow control. 11) The equipment for fermentation, pH, pO2, Off-gas and supervision systems (SCADA). 12) Downstream: recombinant proteins, antibiotics. 13) Productions: Amino acids, organic acids, enzymes for industry. 14) Recombinant Escherichia coli: solubility of recombinant proteins and inclusion bodies. 15) Streptomyces: Production of antitumors and antibiotics. 16) Yeasts: Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Pichia pastoris and Hansenula anomala. 17) Fungi: immunomodulators, antibiotics and biomass production. 18) Plant cells. production of alkaloids, production from algae: carotenoids, Omega3 fatty acids. 19) Biotransformation/Bioconversion: pharmaceutical intermediates (APIs) and fine chemicals. 20) Energy from microbial biomass: bioethanol, biodiesel, biogas. 21) Bioremediation of polluted  areas: hydrocarbons, chemicals. 22) Biodepuration: microbiology of activated sludge.


Module “Fermentation Biotechnology”

1. The fermentations: Commercial and metabolic classifications, Operation modes, Aeration, Agitation, Sterilization, Immobilization; 2. Fermentation plants: Mixed fermenter, Fixed bed bioreactor, Tower bioreactor, Waldhof fermenter, Volgelbusch fermenter, Rotating disk bioreactor, Immobilized-cell reactor, Bioreactor with dialysis membrane, Extractive bioreactor; 3. Recovery of fermentation products: Cell disintegration, Clariflocculation, Filtration, Sedimentation, Centrifugation, Membrane processes, Evaporation, Liquid-liquid extraction, Distillation, Adsorption, Precipitation, Chromatographies; 4. Kinetics of microbial growth: Batch and continuous cultures, Material balances and productivity of a CSTR; 5. Enzyme kinetics and thermodynamics; 6. Industrial fermentations: Glycolysis, Krebs cycle, Respiration, Pentoses phosphates shunt, Homolactic and heterolactic fermentations, Alcoholic fermentation, Acetic Fermentation, Butyric and butylic fermentations, Mixed-acid fermentation, Propionic fermentations, Citric fermentation; 7. Production of antibiotics; 8. Fermentations of environmental interest; 9. Realization of a fermentation process in laboratory.


  1. M. Marzona, “Chimica delle Fermentazioni & Microbiologia Industriale”, 2a edizione, Piccin Nuova Libraria S.p.A., Padova, 1996.
  2. Matilde Manzoni, “Microbiologia Industriale”, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano, 2006.
  3. Donadio Stefano e Marino Gennaro, “Biotecnologie Microbiche”, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano, 2008.
  4. P. Barbieri, G. Bestetti, E. Galli e D. Zannoni, Microbiologia Ambientale ed Elementi di Ecologia Microbica, 1a edizione, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano, 2008




October 1st, 2024



The oral examination, which mainly deals with the discussion of two articles chosen in agreement with the teachers, will consist of a series of questions to ascertain the general preparation of the student on the basic aspects of the notions of Industrial Microbiology and Fermentation Biotechnology.

The final grade will be the average of the marks awarded in the two modules in which the discipline is divided.


For both modules, Industrial Microbiology and Fermentation Biotechnology, students' learning of contents is ensured during the course through questions and insights. At the end of this, a final interview will be held, both on topics discussed in the lessons and by the presentation of two drafts in the form of theme. In them the student will analyze two articles, one in the field of industrial microbiology and the other in the field of fermentation biotechnology, chosen based on the topics developed during the lessons. These drafts will be taken as a starting point for the final exam, and their structure will be one of the criteria for verifying the achievement of the educational objectives. In particular, the evaluation parameters will be the structure of the reports, the quality of the exposure, the correct use of the specialist lexicon, and the ability to reason critically on the articles studied.