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Fundamentals of Plant Physiology

Code: 60260
ECTS: 6.0
Lecturers in charge: prof. dr. sc. Sandra Radić Brkanac
Lecturers: dr. sc. Marija Babić - Practicum
Take exam: Studomat
English level:


All teaching activities will be held in Croatian. However, foreign students in mixed groups will have the opportunity to attend additional office hours with the lecturer and teaching assistants in English to help master the course materials. Additionally, the lecturer will refer foreign students to the corresponding literature in English, as well as give them the possibility of taking the associated exams in English.

1. komponenta

Lecture typeTotal
Lectures 30
Practicum 45
* Load is given in academic hour (1 academic hour = 45 minutes)
(1) Define and comprehend fundamental concepts in plant physiology and develop critical thinking as well as predisposition for further learning in these areas
(2) Present the processes of water uptake, transport and loss and analyze the role of water in plants
(3) Apprehend processes of absorption and assimilation of mineral nutrients and analyze their role in plants
(4) Use basic postulates in analyzing numerous data about the processes of photosynthesis and respiration
(5) Explain and interpret important facts about the processes of growth, differentiation, development and aging in plants
(6) Describe and discuss the role of plant growth regulators
(7) Explain and interpret the effects of temperature and light on plant growth and development
(8) Determine and discuss the plant defense mechanisms
(9) Apply the basic concepts of plant physiology in interpreting the effects of environment on plants
(10) Perform experiments using scientific methods, analyze the results and deduce

1. Introduction in plant physiology: historical overview, literature, difference between plants and other organisms, plant cell features. 2. Water and plants: absorption, transport and water loss: role of water in plants, water absorption processes, water potential, regulation of water balance, water transport: cohesion-tension theory and root pressure, water loss: transpiration and guttation, mechanisms and regulation of stomata opening. 3. Mineral nutrition and assimilation of mineral nutrients: essential nutrients: absorption and function, mycorrhizae, halophytes, nitrate and ammonium assimilation, biological nitrogen fixation, sulphur, phosphate, cation and oxygen assimilation. 4. Solute transport: passive and active transport, mechanisms of solutes transport in cells, tissues and entire plant. 5. and 6. Photosynthesis: chemoautotrophy and photoautotrophy, photosynthesis in algae and bacteria, photosynthesis in plants, structure of ptotosynthetic apparatus, light reactions, Calvin cycle, photorespiration, C3, C4 and CAM plants, effects of environmental factors (light, CO2, temperature) on photosynthesis rate, translocation of photosynthesis products: source-to-sink pathway; heterotrophy: parasitic and carnivorous plants. 7. Respiration and lipid metabolism: aerobic respiration: glycolysis, Krebs cycle, electron transport and ATP synthesis, anaerobic respiration: alcoholic and lactic acid fermentation, effects of environmental factors on respiration rate; whole-plant respiration; lipid metabolism, mobilization of storage lipids and proteins. 8. Growth, differentiation, development and senescence: intracellular and intercellular regulations: signal transduction; growth: meristems; differentiation: polarity of plant cell; senescence and programmed cell death: mechanism and consequence; abscission of organs. 9. and 10. Plant growth regulators (plant hormones): auxins, gibberellins, cytokinins, ethylene and abscisic acid: discovery, structure and biosynthesis, metabolism, transport, effects, mechanism of action. 11. Influence of temperature on plant growth and development: bud and seed dormancy: coat-imposed dormancy and embryo dormancy, plant growth regulators and dormancy. 12. Influence of light on plant growth and development: photomorphogenesis, phytochromes: properties, localization, mechanism of action, function; circadian rhythms; control of flowering: autonomous regulation; short-day, long-day and day-neutral plants, vernalization, signals involved in flowering, inhibition of flowering, plant growth regulators and flowering. 13. Plant defense: surface protection and secondary metabolites: cutin, suberin and waxes, terpenes and phenolic compounds, nitrogen-containing compounds: biosynthetic pathways, distribution in plants, mode of action, function. 14. and 15. Stress physiology: water defficit an drought resistance, low temperatures: chilling and freezing, high temperatures: heat stress and heat shock, salinity stress, oxygen deficiency: anaerobic stress, light and UV stress, air and soil pollution, biotic stress, oxidative stress.

1.Physiology and specifics of plant cells: Observation of cell wall, vacuoles and plastids, Detection of suberin, Detection and role of organic acids in plants, Detection of oxalic acid, Detection of tartaric acid, Detection and role of carbohydrates in plants, Detection of inulin
2.Water uptake, transport and loss: Traube cell, Observation of processes and types of plasmolysis and deplasmolysis, Detection of cuticular and stomatal transpiration using cobalt paper, Measurement of stomata aperture using the method of nitrocellulose prints, Guttation
3.Mineral nutrition in plants: Detection of ferric ions in plants, Detection of ammonium ions in plants, Detection of nitrates in plants
4.Photosynthesis: Lyophilisation of plant material and extraction of plant pygments, Spectrophotometric determination of total chlorophylls and carotenoids, Detection of starch in leaves, Chlorophyll fluorescence in vitro and in vivo, Thin-layer chromatography and determination of the contents and absorption spectra of photosynthetic pigments, Observation of pigments under UV light, Paper chromatography
5.Respiration: Model of the respiratory chain, Measurement of polyphenoloxidase activity, Reactions for protein detection, Determination of protein content by Bradford
6.Detection of secondary metabolites: The enzymatic degradation of the glycoside amygdalin and prulaurazine, Detection of esculin, fraxin and berberine by fluorescence, Determination of phenols, Determination of tannins, Absorption spectrum of anthocyanins, Color changes of anthocyanins at various pH levels, Simple tests for distinguishing between anthocyanins and betacyanins, Determination of antioxidant capacity by DPPH method
7.Plant hormones and transformation of plant cells: Role of ethylene in leaf senescence, Effect of auxins on rhizogenesis, Effect of gibberellic acid on stem elongation, Effect of kinetin in delaying leaf senescence
8.Plant movements: Thermonastic and photonastic movements, Seismonastic movements, Phototaxis of chloroplasts.
  1. Pevalek-Kozlina, B. 2003. Fiziologija bilja. Sveučilišni udžbenik. Profil International, Zagreb.
  2. Taiz, L., Zeiger, E. 2006. Plant Physiology, 4. izdanje. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland.
  3. Berg, J. M. Tymoczko, J. L. Stryer, L. 2006.Biochemistry (Sixth Edition). W. H. Freeman & Co., New York.
1. semester
Mandatory course - Regular study - Environmental Sciences
Consultations schedule: