Industrial and Environmental Microbiology BIOL5145

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Molecular Biosciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course will provide a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental aspects of industrial and environmental microbiology. Students will carry out a laboratory investigation to identify microorganisms that produce useful products. 


Lectures, tutorials and lab classes over a period of five weeks in the second half of semester 1.

Approximately 5 lectures mainly from visiting external speakers totaling around 15 hours.

Laboratory practical classes totaling about 36 hours.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses




Written short answer class test (40%)

Written report of the lab (60%)

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to:

■ provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the exploitation of microorganisms in industrial and environmental processes (from both historical and modern-day perspectives);

■ provide students with awareness and knowledge of recent developments in industrial and environmental microbiology (e.g. genetic engineering) that have improved, or aim to improve, these processes.

■ introduce students to basic laboratory skills needed to culture micro-organisms

■ demonstrate that microorganisms can be used to produce useful products and to give practical experience and understanding of the methods used to purify these products.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ Demonstrate advanced knowledge of microbial structure, physiology and biochemistry and fully appreciate the diversity of microorganisms and their metabolic capabilities;

■ Describe and critically evaluate the roles of microorganisms in the production of fuels and industrial chemicals;

■ Critically discuss how microorganisms are used to produce antibiotics;

■ Demonstrate knowledge of the microbial processes involved in food and beverage fermentations including the brewing of beer and wine production;

■ Describe how microorganisms are employed in waste-water treatment;

■ Identify, summarise and critically evaluate research publications, reports and media articles on aspects of bioprocessing including industrial microorganisms, fermentation media, and downstream processing;

■ Design and execute experiments to identify organisms that produce useful products (e.g. antibiotics)and measure the production of these compounds by microorganisms;

Organise and critically review concepts, methods and results of an investigation into a lab report.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment..