Microbes in Society (MICR2022)


Pathogenic microbes cause infectious diseases of humans, animals and plants, and inflict enormous suffering and economic losses. Beneficial microbes are important contributors to food production, agriculture, biotechnology, and environmental processes. The aims of MICR2022/2922 are to explore the impacts and applications of microbes in human society and in the environment at large, and to teach skills and specialist knowledge in several key areas of microbiology. Medical Microbiology lectures will cover bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens, and will introduce the concepts of epidemiology, transmission, pathogenicity, virulence factors, host/parasite relationships, host defences, prevention of disease, and antibiotic types, functions, and resistance. Lecture topics in other areas include Food (preservation, spoilage, poisoning, industrial context), Industrial (fermentation, traditional and recombinant products, bioprospecting), Environmental (nutrient cycles, atmosphere, wastewater, pollution, biodegradation) and Agricultural (nitrogen fixation, plant pathogens, biocontrols). The laboratory sessions are integrated with the lecture series and are designed to give students practical experience in isolating, identifying and manipulating live potentially pathogenic microorganisms.

Further unit of study information


Two 1-hour lectures per week, plus an additional four 1-hour tutorials per semester. Eleven 3-hour practicals per semester


One 2-hour theory exam, continuous assessment in practicals, two assignments, two quizzes, practical assessment exercises (100%)


Willey et al. Prescott's Microbiology. 8th edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill. 2010.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

6cp of Junior Biology and 6 of Junior Chemistry and (6cp from MBLG1001 or MBLG1901 or PLNT2001 or PLNT2901)


MICR2922 or MICR2002 or MICR2902 or MICR2004 or MICR2008 or MICR2012 or MICR2909

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.