Molecular & Cellular Biology (with Biotechnology) BSc/MSci

Industrial and Environmental Microbiology 4Y option BIOL4061

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Infection and Immunity
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will explore various aspects of industrial and environmental microbiology relevant to the modern world. The course will provide an introduction to industrial and environmental microbiology and will cover important areas including bioprocessing, brewing, biofuels, industrial enzymes, antibiotic production, food microbiology, waste water treatment, synthetic biology, and bioremediation. The course will provide more advanced knowledge of recent research developments in these fields with an emphasis on molecular approaches.


There is normally 3 hours of teaching on Fridays. 

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (75%) and in-course assessment consisting of a written assignment relating to an industrial visit (25%). 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The course aims to:

■ explore the exploitation of microorganisms in industrial and environmental processes that are important to human welfare and economics (from both historical and modern-day perspectives);

■ examine recent developments in industrial and environmental microbiology (e.g. genetic engineering, synthetic biology) that have improved, or aim to improve, these processes.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Discuss microbial structure, physiology and biochemistry of microorganisms and explain their metabolic capabilities;

■ Discuss the roles of microorganisms in the production of fuels and industrial chemicals;

■ Discuss how microorganisms are used to produce antibiotics and commercial enzymes;

■ Discuss the microbial processes involved in food and beverage fermentations;

■ Discuss the role of microbes in food production and spoilage;

■ Explain how microorganisms are employed in waste-water treatment and bioremediation;

■ Discuss how synthetic biology can be used to create new microorganisms and improve the above processes.

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.