Biology of Crops

Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semesters 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

1st lecture: Introduction. Possible criteria for the classification of crops. Definition of the anatomical concepts/terms to be used. Classification of crops on the basis of their organs consumed/used. Overview of the ways of using crops.

2nd lecture: Outline of cytology. Structure and types of the most significant nutritive materials and other stocked substances. Their localisation within the cell, their analysis and detection. Plant secretion.

3rd–4th lectures: Systemic overview of crops, chemotaxonomy. History of cultivation and the plants cultivated (aspects of agrarian history and climate). Original homes of the most important crops, the routes of their spreading, an outline of their consumption, their cultivation, their improvement and their use. Global cultivation data. Recently spread plants, tendencies expected, prospects. Energy plants. Cultivation of genetically modified plants. (Gene-ethics)

5th lecture: The diversity of the ways of using different species of „algae” in food industry and in cosmetic industry. Maritime plantations and their harvesting. Recipes of the Japanese and Chinese cuisines (the plant parts used). The use of other important „inferior” or „higher” plants cultivated in seas or on land, also for therapeutical purposes. Types of cells, anatomical characteristics, body structure and contents of chemical substances of algae consumed.

6th lecture: Overview of cereals cultivated all over the world according to their species, origine, agents, anatomical characteristics and cultivation. Physiological specificities and particularities of the C3 and C4 species. Histological changes in wheat stems during the ripening of the fruit. Overview of other – mostly tropical – plants used to give flour.

7th lecture: Overview of cultivated fruits according to their species, origine, agents, anatomical characteristics and cultivation. Types of fruits, their characterisation and classification on the basis of the parts consumed. Tropical fruits: their characterisation and their anatomy.

8th lecture: Definition of the species of cultivated „vegetables” from a botanical point of view. Their classification on the basis of the organ(s) consumed. Their major active ingredients. The anatomy of the organs consumed. Comparison of the development and the structure of the different species of cabbage and lettuce. Anatomical characterisation of endive, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, different species of celery, carrot, potato, onion and garlic.

9th lecture: The appropriate exploitation of the nutritive materials of cereals, vegetables and fruits. Their nutritional value and deliciousness, their contents of mineral substances, the ways of their preparation and consumption throughout the world. The chemical modification of vitamins and other substances during preparation. Aspects of ripening and stocking, post-harvest biology.

10th lecture: Overview of herbs, other edible plants and economically significant other species cultivated all over the world, on the basis of their species, origine, organs consumed, active ingredients, anatomical characteristics and cultivation. Histological description of the cummin, pumpkin seed with and without skin and linseed.

11th lecture: History and development of different spice mixtures. Their components and use. Identification of the components of spice mixtures on the basis of their anatomical particularities. The cultivation of tea brands. The separation of the components of herb tea mixtures (infusions) on an anatomical basis. Analysis and separation of mixtures of paprika.

12th lecture: Industrial plants used in wood, construction and textile industry and other industrial plants. Species that are important for the cosmetic industry. Anatomical and morphological characterisation of the most important species cultivated and used. The charateristics of their parts used from an anatomical-physiological aspect. Dendrology, dendrochronology, xylotomy.

13th lecture: Rubber industry, pharmaceutical industry, tobacco industry and plant secretion. Botany in criminology (forensic science). Anatomical aspects of drugs.

14th lecture: Parasites of crops: viruses, bacteria and fungi. Viruses in potato seeds, artichoke flowers and in different varieties of cabbage. The spreading of viruses. Rust fungi, Ustilaginales, mould fungi. Ergot of rye. The use of fungi in food industry and in therapy, the main types of mushroom poisonings.

15th lecture: The scientific basis of quality control in food industry. Overview of fermented, plant-based drinks from the pombe to anisette and the different sorts of wine. Preparation of herbal liqueurs of the Chartreuse type and other herbal liqueurs of an uncomplicated composition. Preparation of soft drinks, frequently used species.

  • Stern KR (1994) Introductory Plant Biology. Wm. C. Brown Publishers,Oxford. ISBN 0-697-13714-7.

  • Chemicals from plants. Perspectives on plant secondary products. 1999. Eds. Walton NJ, Brown DE, Imperial College Press, Singapore. ISBN 981-02-2773-6.