Department of Microbiology

Department
of Microbiology

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture
Svetošimunska cesta 25, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Pavilion 2nd, 1st Floor

Department SecretaryPhoneE-mail (+ @agr.hr)
Darija Mrkša, Department Secretary
Administrative Assistant
+385 1 239 3943dmrksa
Scientific-teaching employeesPhoneE-mail (+ @agr.hr)
Assist. Prof. Nataša Hulak, PhD, Head of Department
Assistant Professor
+385 1 239 3699nhulak
Prof. Sanja Sikora, PhD
Full Professor
+385 1 239 3880ssikora
Assoc. Prof. Mirna Mrkonjić Fuka, PhD
Associate Professor
+385 1 239 4034mfuka
Sanja Kajić, PhD
Postdoctoral Student
+385 1 239 3881skajic
Ivana Rajnović, PhD
Postdoctoral Student
+385 1 239 3881irajnovic
Irina Tanuwidjaja, mag. ing. agr.
Assistant
+385 1 239 3866ianuwidjaja
Expert-technical employeesPhoneE-mail (+ @agr.hr)
Dragica Hradec
Technical Assistant
+385 1 239 3864
Sandra Matijević
Technical Assistant
+385 1 239 3864

Teaching activities

Until the introduction of the Bologna Process in 2005, undergraduate teaching included the field of general microbiology for students of all educational profiles, while the special part of microbiology differed depending on individual educational profile. At the postgraduate study, teaching was mainly focused on the field of agroecology or microbial ecology. In this study, there were several subjects in the field of soil microbiology and biotechnology, with special emphasis on the field of biological nitrogen fixation. The biggest changes in the overall concept and organization of teaching occurred with the introduction of the Bologna process, which resulted in a significantly higher number of subjects adapted to individual study programs and levels of study. Teachers of the Department of Microbiology are involved in teaching at all levels (undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate and specialist studies) and for students of most study programs at the Faculty of Agriculture. The undergraduate level includes courses aimed at introducing students to the main areas of basic microbiology, but also to special branches of microbiology such as soil microbiology or microbiology in livestock production. However, the greatest engagement of the teachers of the Department is related to the graduate study "Agroecology - Microbial Biotechnology in Agriculture". The curriculum of this study includes a number of diverse areas such as microbial ecology, microbial diversity, various beneficial associations between plants and microorganisms, food microbiology, molecular microbiology, and the application of mycology and bacteriology in modern biotechnology. Teachers of the Institute are also involved in teaching at the graduate study "InterEnAgro", at the specialist study "Fisheries" and at the postgraduate study "Agricultural Sciences".

Scientific and research activities

Since 1922, the Department has been introducing new microbiological methods for the analysis of plant nutrients in the soil. In 1928 began a research on symbiotic nitrogen fixation, which resulted in the production of the first inoculum for soybean bacterization in 1932. Free nitrogen fixers have been studied since 1958, and bovine rumen microorganisms were investigated during the 1960s and 1970s. From 1983 until today, scientists have been intensively studying the symbiotic nitrogen fixation and the influence of agrotechnical interventions on soil biogenicity. During this period, research on organic fertilizers obtained by earthworms (Lumbricidae) activity began as well as the study of enzymatic activities of many other important processes in the soil. In 1993, Department established its own laboratory for molecular microbiology, which primarily analyzed the biodiversity of indigenous symbiotic nitrogen fixers. Since 1996, research has begun on the diversity of indigenous wine yeasts associated with the most important grape cultivars in Croatia. Since 2007 this area was extended with the research in the field of food microbiology and characterization of microorganisms that play a key role in the fermentation and ripening of food of animal origin. Thanks to very intensive scientific work, the Department has formed its own collection of different cultures of symbiotic nitrogen fixers, wine yeasts and indigenous lactic acid bacteria, which is extremely important for the further development of science in these areas. This scientific-professional concept is extremely important for the development of sustainable agricultural production because it seeks innovative ways to increase production and save energy while preserving the environment and increasing the quality of life. Current scientific activity includes the study of beneficial associations between plants and microorganisms as well as the study of the natural diversity and characterization of microorganisms that are extremely important for agricultural production and maintenance of various agroecosystems. Special attention of scientists is focused on the research of beneficial microbial communities in sustainable production of legumes, as well as on the diversity of microbial communities in traditional, spontaneously fermented foods with the aim on selection and application of indigenous microbial cultures with potential for agricultural use. The employees of the Department follow modern scientific trends through cooperation with other Departments within the Faculty as well as with leading domestic and foreign researchers and scientific institutions. Based on the scientific and research activities of the Department, Laboratory of microbiology was established with an independent unit of Laboratory of food microbiology.

History

Department of Microbiology was founded in 1922 as a part of Department of Economic Microbiology and Dairy Science at the Faculty of Economics and Forestry. In 1941, it began its work as an independent Department of Microbiology. The founder of the Department was professor Ljudevit Gutschy.

The first head of the Department was professor Ljudevit Gutschy (1922-1941) followed by: professor Vladimir Škorić (1941-1947), professor Franjo Mlinac (1947-1959), professor Mara Prša (1959 - 1983), professor Sulejman Redžepović (1983 - 2006), professor Sanja Sikora (2006 - 2015) and associate professor Mirna Mrkonjić Fuka (2015 - today).

Numerous teachers have participated in the teaching activities of the Department since its establishment until today: professor Ljudevit Gutschy, professor Vladimir Skoric, professor Franjo Mlinac, Mara Prša, Ph.D. Franjo Slamić, professor Sulejman  Redžepović, professor emeritus, Ph.D. Đurđa Sertić, Ph.D. Zdravko Barać, Ph.D. Jelena Žafran, Ph.D, Associate Professor Mihaela Blažinkov, assistant professor Sandi Orlić, assistant professor Andrea Skelin, assistant professor Katarina Huić Babić.

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