I. COURSE DESCRIPTION
Beneficial and detrimental involvement of microorganisms in
industrial processes, microbial products, biotechnology, contamination
control, and antimicrobial agents including antibiotics. Three lectures and
one 3-hour lab per week. Prerequisites: Micro LS2054, Chem 2310 or Chem
3070. Micro 3053 recommended.
II. PURPOSE OF THE COURSE
This course exposes students to aspects of applied microbiology that
will help prepare them for microbiology careers and that have an impact on
our lives as consumers and citizens. Fundamental principles unite concepts
in physiology and ecology of microorganisms. For example, the role of
microbial activities in the preservation, preparation, or spoilage of foods
is a topic that impinges on daily activities and provides opportunities to
refresh and enhance laboratory skills. Other examples are the removal of
microorganisms from drinking water and the use of microbial ecosystems to
treat wastewater, each of which touch on important community issues. Since
every town has a water industry, knowledge of these processes can affect
community decisions or offer employment opportunities. One of the fastest
growing areas of applied microbiology, in terms of job openings and general
awareness, is the use of microorganisms to treat urban wastes and remediate
environmental pollutants. Waste treatment and bioremediation differ from
many areas of microbiology in that they rely on mixtures of microorganisms,
requiring an understanding and application of microbial ecology. Production
of biofuels is an area of increased interest. Other topics include using
microorganisms as biocatalysts or for the production of specific metabolites
(e.g., antibiotics, solvents). Locally, there are many employment
opportunities in the nutraceutical area, specifically testing food
supplements for microbial content.
III. COURSE OBJECTIVES
A. Provide an overview of industrial microbiology/biotechnology as an
applied biological science.
B. Expose students in depth to areas of industrial microbiology that are
important even to non-professionals and the knowledge of which can be drawn
upon throughout a personís life.
C. Discuss and illustrate employment opportunities for microbiologists.
D. Develop professional behavior and skills in microbiology,
especially experimental design and interpretation.
E. Integrate prior knowledge in biology, chemistry, physics, and math to
understand basic and applied aspects of microbiology and to enhance critical
IV. INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES
Instruction relies predominantly on lectures, enhanced by the use of
audio-visual materials and independent class assignments. The required
textbook is Modern Biotechnology: Connecting Innovations in Microbiology
and Biochemistry to Engineering Fundamentals by Mosier and Ladisch.
Additionally, a laboratory setting provides hands-on exposure to many common
techniques, including experimental design and data analysis. Field trips
allow direct observation of different areas of industrial microbiology.
Current primary and secondary literature, available in printed or online
formats, expose students to contemporary issues and research directions
within industrial microbiology. Students are expected to have the initiative
to use library resources.
There are a number of relevant pages on the Internet which can be located
using different search engines and key phrases such as industrial
microbiology, biotechnology, fermentation, wastewater, compost, etc. Several
useful webpages are listed on the instructorís website (
Any student requiring accommodations or services due to a disability must
contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) in room 181 of the
Student Service Center. SSD can also arrange to provide materials (including
this syllabus) in alternative formats if necessary.
V. TEACHING STRATEGIES
In addition to the traditional presentation of information through
lectures and laboratory exercises, this course incorporates a high level of
student participation and cooperation, usually through the Socratic method.
Students are expected to arrive to class prepared to contribute to
discussions and/or participate in laboratory projects, including their
design. Many activities require group interactions. Satisfactory
preparation requires completion of explicit assignments as well as reviewing
appropriate background material as necessary. The textbook serves as a
reference for the lecture material, not as an explicit guide. While lectures
may draw on specific information from the text, they will not be an oral
presentation of the material in the text. Instead, lectures will draw on a
variety of sources, presenting students with a clear, balanced, and current
view of topics selected according to the instructorís subjective evaluation
of the field and student background. Individual assignments will be given to
address deficiencies. Field trips will provide an opportunity to observe
industrial microbiology in practice and a chance to speak with
Laboratory activities will be designed to develop professional skills and
illustrate principles discussed in lecture. These may include basic
techniques, for example maintaining a laboratory notebook and writing
reports, as well as analytical methods and cultivation strategies. The
skills may be taught in stand alone exercises or as part of an ongoing
experiment. It is expected that students have sufficient computer experience
for effective use of spreadsheets for data analysis and word processors for
writing manuscripts in an appropriate format.
Academic performance is evaluated with several criteria: examinations
(200 pts), quizzes/homework (25 pts), term paper/presentation (100 pts),
laboratory reports (50 pts) and participation (25 pts). Attending class (on
time) is considered minimal participation, worth 17 points. To earn more
than that, students are expected to arrive prepared for discussions, to
engage in questions and answers during those discussions, and to make
contributions in the lab. Grades are assigned based on percentage of points
earned, as listed below: