First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCN1037598, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC1731, Degree course structure A.Y. 2014/15, A.Y. 2017/18
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 8.0
Type of assessment Mark
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Biology
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge PAOLA VENIER BIO/18
Other lecturers SILVIA GROSS 000000000000

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines CHIM/03 General and Inorganic Chemistry 4.0
Core courses BIO/18 Genetics 4.0

Mode of delivery (when and how)
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Organisation of didactics
Type of hours Credits Hours of
Hours of
Individual study
Laboratory 1.0 16 9.0 No turn
Lecture 7.0 56 119.0 No turn

Start of activities 26/02/2018
End of activities 01/06/2018

Prerequisites: General and inorganic chemistry, Organic Chemistry, essentials of Life sciences and Genetics
Target skills and knowledge: Once introduced the basic concepts of environmental toxicology, the course will illustrate chemical reactions involved in the action of pollutants in different environmental compartments, the variety of toxic agents and their possible effects at different levels of biological organization. Students should acquire critical knowledge on the i) principles of environmental chemistry and toxicology, ii) natural and man-made toxic agents, iii) mechanisms of toxicity, with special attention to structural and functional changes of the genetic material, iv) end-points and test systems for detecting exposure and toxicant-induced responses in humans and other organisms. Following an inter-disciplinary approach, the students are expected to improve document search and the critical evaluation of problems imposed by toxic agents.
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.
Assessment criteria: The evaluation will take into account i) learning of general concepts and specifically exemplified subjects, ii) search ability and critical analysis of facts, problems, ideas related to toxic agents, iii) positive interactions during the course.
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).
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Interactive presentation on the course topics; use of specific databases, web resources, scientific papers; practical experience in laboratory (potentially, seminars and external visits on specific subjects).
Additional notes about suggested reading: Toxicology books, current scientific literature, class notes and files provided by the course teachers.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • S. E. Mahan, Environmental Chemistry. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2009. 9th Edition Cerca nel catalogo
  • C. Klaassen, Casarett and Doull's Toxicology: the basic science of poisons. New York: McGraw Hill, 2013. 8th Edition, printed or electronic version Cerca nel catalogo