Microbes are essential for every aspect of life on the planet. Microbes in the human gut control our digestion and our immune system, microbes in the soil are required for plant growth, microbes in the ocean fix more carbon dioxide than all the earth's trees. This unit of study will investigate the diversity and activity of microorganisms - viruses, bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa - and look at how they interact with us, each other, plants and animals. You will examine how microbes underpin healthy ecosystems through nutrient cycling and biodegradation, their use industrially in biotechnology and food production, and their ability to cause harm, producing disease, poisoning, pollution and spoilage. Aspects of microbial ecology, nutrition, physiology and genetics will also be introduced. This unit of study will provide you with the breadth of knowledge and skills needed for further studies of microbiology, and will provide the fundamental understanding of microbes that you will require if you specialise in related fields such as biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, agriculture, nutrition and food sciences, bioengineering and biotechnology, ecology or science education.
Two 1-hour lectures per week; one 3-hour practical per week; five tutorial sessions
Theory 60%: 45-minute mid-semester theory exam (20%) and 1.5-hour theory exam (40%); Practical 40%: written assignment (10%), group oral presentation (20%) and online quizzes (10%)
Willey et al, Prescott's Microbiology, 10th edition, McGraw-Hill, 2017
Fundamental concepts of microorganisms, biomolecules and ecosystems; CHEM1XX1
MICR2021 or MICR2921 or MICR2024 or MICR2931