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Instructor:  Dr. William Lorowitz

Phone:  626-7782


Office:  SL 303MA

Hours: Posted outside office

Course Schedule:  8:30 MWF, 12:30-3:20Th

Course Location:  SL 344


Files for Spring Break Homework

Fractional Factorial




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.


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.


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 thinking skills.


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.


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 professionals.

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:










































Work performed outside of class is due at the beginning of class on the assigned date. No make-up examinations or quizzes will be given. An examination, quizzes, homework, or student presentations/papers may be given during the last week of classes.

Each student is required to write and present a term paper on an approved topic in industrial microbiology or biotechnology. The schedule and points for each step of the process is presented below:



Value (points)

Approval of topic

(discuss with instructor, make sure that sufficient references are available)

By February 1


Annotated bibliography

(list references already reviewed and write a line or two on the information each one provides)

February 12


General outline

(show basic organization of paper)

February 26


Detailed outline with citations

(detail level should allow an outside reader to write your paper)

March 24


Oral Presentation or Poster


Beginning week of April 12 (Specific dates to be assigned)

April 20




The course will focus on basic principles of industrial microbiology, drawing on examples to illustrate the role of these principles in industry. Starting with selection, screening, and growth of desired organisms, the course will progress to include strain improvement, optimizing yields, and purifying products. Different fermentation methods will be studied, including continuous culture and growth under strictly anoxic conditions. As part of developing professional behaviors and attitudes, the course will stress the application of the scientific method especially in regard to experimental design and data analysis.





Please direct any comments, questions, or corrections to
Dr. William Lorowitz

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