Campus: PADOVA

Language: English

Teaching period: Second Semester


Number of ECTS credits allocated: 8

Prerequisites: General and inorganic chemistry, Organic Chemistry, essentials of Life sciences and Genetics
Examination methods: Oral or written evaluation depending on the student number. During the exam the student will also debate a topic (toxic agent, biological process in terms of function/dysfunction, investigation method) agreed with the course teacher and based on the scientific literature. Effective reporting of biotechnological aspects will be positively evaluated.
Course unit contents: The following contents will be expanded or reduced according to the student skills and interest.
Part A (CHIM). Introduction to the environmental chemistry and chemical cycles. Evaluation of the pollutant distribution and transfer in the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. Radioactivity: principles and chemistry of radiations, ionizing and non-ionizing radiations. Types of radioactive decay. Atmosphere: chemistry and atmospheric pollutants, photochemical smog, role of chemical substances in the ozone layer depletion, greenhouse effect, inorganic gaseous pollutants, organic pollutants, particulates. Hydrosphere: features, chemical behaviour of inorganic and inorganic pollutants; contamination of natural waters; 'heavy' metals and their transport; colloids. Lithosphere: soil composition and chemistry with special attention to pesticides, herbicides and 'heavy' metals.
Part B (BIO). Variety of toxic agents and possible adverse effects at different levels of biological organization, with evidence-based facts and short mention to chemical toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics. Biological targets, measures of exposure, effect and susceptibility. Dose-response and time-response relationships, hormesis. Toxicological databases, criteria for the identification of toxic agents and their characterization, included biotechnological products and nanoparticles/nanomaterials. Physical agents: dose units, molecular effects and responses induced by non-ionizing and ionizing radiations; adaptive response, bystander effects, genetic/epigenetic mechanisms of genomic instability. Genotoxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic agents: genetic activity profiles, action mechanisms, mutational spectra, mutagenesis strategies. Other cases (e.g., reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, antimicrobial/antiviral activity). Methods of toxicology and toxicogenomics (practical experience, examples).