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CODE 80806
SEMESTER 2° Semester


This teaching introduces to the knowledge of some of the most widespread fermentation processes, currently used in the industrial field, and their production plants. Examples from both traditional industrial microbiology and more recent bioconversions are analyzed in terms of yield, cost-effectiveness and environmental impact of the process. The peculiar metabolic properties of the selected microorganisms or biological agents involved in the process are also discussed.



Basic knowledge of industrial, environmental, pharmaceutical and food processes involving fermentation steps. Acquisition of fundamental contents of microbiology and bacterial biochemistry related to industrial fermentation processes. Explanation of techniques and plants usually employed in the main industrial fermentation processes.


The teaching aims to develop the student's capability to correlate the theoretical notions on industrial microbiology and fermentation plants with the experimental data to identify general criteria for their application uses. To reach this goal, the lectures are always accompanied by concrete examples related to daily life and industrial practice.

At the end of the teaching the student will be able to:

  • know the main classes of microorganisms or biological agents employed in industrial microbiology and their application areas;
  • describe in detail a scheme of fermentation plan according to the symbology commonly adopted in industrial field;
  • classify and comment with appropriate terminology a fermentation process according to the final product, the characteristics of the selected biological agent and the plant adopted.



None, but it is certainly useful to have followed the teaching Industrial Microbiology and biotechnology of fermentations and laboratory.


The teaching consists of traditional lectures for a total of 32 hours. The teaching is held for 28 hours of traditional lectures (3.5 CFU) by prof. Marina Alloisio and for 4 hours of traditional lectures (0.5 CFU) by prof. Maila Castellano.

Any student with documented Specific Learning Disorders (SLD), or with any special needs, shall reach out to the lecturers 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.


Recalls on fundamentals on industrial fermentation processes.

Recalls on microbial groups of industrial interest: classification, metabolism, growth and preservation of cultures.

Examples of industrial fermentations: production of ethanol, yeast, organic acids; production of enzymes and single-cell proteins; production of amino acids and antibiotics.

Bioconversions: general principles and applications (production of amino acids, conversion of steroids).

Immobilization techniques of enzymes and cells.

Examples of fermentation and bioconversion plants: production of ethanol, yeast, citric acid, penicillin, single-cell proteins; enzymatic reactors.

Based on the items described, the teaching contributes to the achievement of the following Sustainable Development Goals of the ONU 2030 Agenda: Goal 4. Quality Education, Goal 5. Gender Equality and Goal 12. Responsible consumption and production.

As a quality assurance, the detailed program of the teaching is uploaded to aul@web, so that students can verify the correspondence between topics and learning outcomes.


In order to facilitate learning, lesson notes and plant schemes are uploaded to the corresponding aul@web page, simultaneously with their presentation in the classroom. 

In addition, quizzes and tests lasting one hour each are uploaded on the same webpage. These activities are to be taken asynchronously to the lectures in order to check individual preparation.

The following supporting texts are suggested limited to the content covered by the teaching:

M. Marzona, “Chimica delle fermentazioni e microbiologia industriale”, Piccin Ed., Padova, 1996.

C. Ratledge, B. Kristiansen, “Biotecnologie di base”, Zanichelli Ed., Bologna, 2004.

S. Aiba, A.E. Humphrey, N.F. Mills, “Biochemical engineering”, New York: Academic Press, Inc., 1973.

K. Schugerl, “Bioreaction engineering”, Chichester, Sussex, UK; John Wiley & Sons, 1987.

O. Levenspiel, “Ingegneria delle reazioni chimiche”, edizione italiana a cura di E. Sebastiani, Milano: Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, 1978.

H.S. Fogler, “Elements of chemical reaction engineering”, 4a editizione, Upper saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2006.

Supplementary material is provided on request to working students or students with SLD.




The teaching is held in the second semester.

Lessons timetable is available at the link reported below.



Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The exam is an oral examination conducted by the two teachers in charge for a duration of at least 30 minutes.

During the calendar year, 7 exam sessions are scheduled within the time intervals established by the Manifesto degli Studi and the Regolamento del Corso di Studio. Extraordinary sessions outside the as-indicated periods will be granted only to students overdue with the curriculum studiorum.

The oral examination consists of three parts; each of them are awarded a maximum rating of 10/30 for the exam evaluation:

- the examination always begins with the description of a fermentation plant among those included in the teaching program; the plant is chosen by the examination Committee;

- in the second part the student is asked to classify and discuss the fermentative process related to the plant described before (chemistry, characteristics and associated problems);

- the third part is about description and discussion of other topics of the teaching program, chosen by the examination Committee.

For students with valid certification of physical or learning disabilities, the assessment methods refer to the specific regulations of the University of Genova (

We recommend the students who wish to discuss possible accommodations regarding the exams to contact by e-mail the teacher and the Polytechnic School's disability reference lecturer well in advance (at least 10 days).



The goal of the oral exam is to verify that the student has reached an adequate level of understanding of the topics developed during the lectures and is able to apply theoretical concepts to real situations concerning the realization, productivity, cost, and impact of industrial processes involving fermentation steps. The student's ability to describe and compare different processes will also be assessed.

The oral exam will also serve to verify that the student has reached an adequate level of language skills.

If the learning outcomes are not achieved, the student is invited to deepen his preparation also by taking advantage of further explanations by the teachers before repeating the exam.


No official pre-requisites required.

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Quality education
Quality education
Gender equality
Gender equality
Responbile consumption and production
Responbile consumption and production