M4100

General Microbiology Lecture


Credit: 5 units
Instructor(s): Daniels
Offered: Autumn, Spring

Lecture Topics:

  • History of microbiology and microbial evolution
  • Cell structure: microscopy, cell envelope, inclusion bodies, endospores, transport and motility
  • Growth: culture methods, nutrition and environmental factors, antimicrobial agents and antibiotic resistance
  •  Microbial molecular biology: DNA replication, mutations and DNA repair, transcription and gene regulation, the genetic code and translation
  • Genetic exchange: plasmids, transposons, viruses, conjugation, transformation, and transduction
  • Microbial diversity: major groups of microbes
  • Metabolism: fuelling reactions, respiration, fermentation, phototrophy and anabolism
  • Biogeochemical cycles: carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur
  • Microbial ecology: microbes in aquatic and terrestrial environments, and microbial interactions: mutualism, parasitism and symbiosis
  • Applied Microbiology: food microbiology and food safety, industrial microbiology, biodegradation and bioremediation

Learning Outcomes:

After completion of the lecture component of the course, successful students will understand...

  • The key historical events in the development of modern Microbiology.
  •  How microscopic techniques are used to visualize cells and sub-cellular components
  • The principles of modern evolutionary theory and the relationship between bacterial, archaeal and eukaryal cells
  • The relationship between cellular structures and their functions
  •  How environmental and physiochemical conditions affect microbial growth and how chemical methods and antibiotics are used to control microbial growth
  • The structure of genes, their replication and the transfer of genetic information between organisms
  • The synthesis of macromolecules and the regulation of gene expression
  • The importance of energy conservation in catabolic and anabolic reactions and the diversity of metabolism among microorganisms
  • The ecology of microbial organisms and how they adapt to their environment
  • How microbes impact their environment as positive or negative agents, including the use of microbes to solve environmental problems
  • The role of microbes in industrial and food processes and their applications in biomedical treatment and research
  • That microbes and viruses play integral roles in both maintaining normal health and in disease processes of humans, animals and plants
  • The molecular mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis and how pathogens differ in key physiological and genetic processes from non-pathogenic organisms

General Microbiology Laboratory


Credit: Required with Lecture
Instructor: Ibba
Offering: Autumn, Spring

Laboratory Topics:

  • How to handle microorganisms safely and how to maintain pure cultures using aseptic techniques (aseptic transfers, three phase streak)
  • The operation of a phase contrast microscope
  • The purpose of the ingredients in bacterial growth media and how to formulate a medium for a specific organism
  • The enumeration of microorganisms by dilution and the use and limitations of viable count and absorbance methods
  • Graphical representation of bacterial growth and death
  • How to generate a pure culture of a microbe from a mixed culture or an environmental sample
  • The use and interpretation of simple test systems like the Enterotube and the Colilert
  • The classification of microbial control agents as bacteriostatic or bacteriocidal
  • Mechanisms of DNA transfer by conjugation
  • How to manage and preserve a collection of microorganism strains
  • The amplification of DNA by PCR
  • The interpretation and in silico manipulation of DNA sequence data
  • Use of the Ribosomal Database Project to identify microorganisms from 16S rRNA sequences
  • How to enumerate and evaluate the microbial load on food products

Learning Outcomes:

After completion of the laboratory component of the course, successful students will understand...

  • Aseptic techniques in handling pure cultures of microbes
  • Formulation of and preparation of bacterial media (rich, minimal, defined, differential)
  • Use of the phase contrast microscope, including wet mounts and simple and differential stains
  • Enumeration of microbes by direct and indirect methods (viable count, absorbance, counting chamber)
  • Structure of the bacterial cell wall using lysozyme as a probe
  • Identification of unknown enterics using differential media for Gram negatives and the Enterotube
  • Water microbiology, use of the Colilert test
  • Effects of environmental factors on bacterial growth (temperature, oxygen tolerance, salt)
  • Bacterial growth curve
  • Bacterial kill curve and persisters
  • Microbial control agents (antiseptics, disinfectants, antibiotics), the Kirby-Bauer assay, calculation of the minimal inhibitory concentration of an antibiotic
  • Conjugation as a mechanism of DNA transfer
  • Enrichment of Streptomyces from soil and demonstration of natural antibiotic activity.
  • Enrichment of Pseudomonas from soil, phenotypic characterization, identification by 16S rRNA amplification, and probing of the Ribosomal Database
  • Isolation of common microbes from skin and survey of Gram positive differential media
  • Food microbiology, including surveys of meat and milk; and preparation of (edible) yogurt.
0