15 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1BG307

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Biology A1N, Technology A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 15 March 2007
Responsible department
Biology Education Centre

Entry requirements

Alternative 1): Biology 75 ECTS credits including Evolution and Diversity of Organisms, Genetics and Gene Technology , Cell Biology, and Ecology and Population Genetics, and in addition Chemistry 30 ECTS credits; alt. 2): Chemistry 60 ECTS credits including Biochemistry 15 ECTS credits and in addition Biology 45 ECTS credits including Evolution and Diversity of Organisms, Genetics and Gene Technology, and Cell Biology, alt. 3) corresponding knowledge from other courses.

Learning outcomes

Objectives of the course

Through the course in microbiology the student shall gain knowledge of microorganisms' morphology, metabolism, physiology, ecology, and evolution as well as training in problem-solving and critical analysis of scientific work in the area.

After completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • understand and describe the interaction between microorganisms and their environments, including humans, how properties of the microorganisms affect their environment and how the environment affect the microorganisms
  • understand that microbial diversity still mostly is uninvestigated, and realise the potential for research and technical development implied by this
  • explain the life processes of microorganisms, some also at the molecular level, and how these are involved in interplay in nature
  • understand and explain the morphology, metabolism, physiology, ecology and evolution of microorganisms and be able to relate this to processes of adaptation in microorganisms
  • understand the structure and organisation of microbial cells and how these affect their life processes
  • understand and explain the interaction between microorganisms via different signalling processes as well as how these function on the molecular level where they steer complex processes such as differentiation, development of multicellularity, biofilm formation, etc.
  • work with microorganisms in the laboratory
  • analyse microbiological experimental data, draw conclusions from them, and construct testable hypotheses from the analysed data
  • critically analyse scientific work in the area
  • isolate and culture microorganisms from their natural environments
  • characterise physiological as well as molecular properties of microorganisms
  • plan, perform and interpret investigations of microorganisms within the areas discussed in the course
  • lead and summarise discussions during seminars and group exercises
  • apply his/her knowledge to practical problems e.g., within food technology or biotechnical production
  • communicate microbiological knowledge orally and in writing


The course focuses on microorganisms in their natural context, including their relationship with the environment and other organisms. Central themes are the cells' structure and function, and molecular mechanisms underlying cellular function as well as interactions between organisms and their environment. Lectures and individual literature studies are complemented with practical exercises (laboratory work, seminars, etc.). Instruction is provided in the form of lectures, seminars, laboratory exercises and study visits.

Microbial diversity and evolution: History, molecular phylogenetics, evolutionary mechanisms: plasmids, phages and horizontal exchange. Groups of bacteria, archeons and unicellular eukaryotes. Methods for analysis of microbial diversity, metagenomics, and non-culturable organisms.

Microbial cell biology and developmental biology: Cell morphology, cytoskeleton, cell growth and division, compartmentalisation in bacterial cells. Bacterial cell cycle, DNA replication and chromosome segregation from a biological perspective. Motility. Signalling, biofilm, multicllularity, sporulation, differentiation.

Metabolism and physiology: Aerobic and anaerobic energy production, uptake and secretion mechanisms, cell wall synthesis. Environmental effects and adaptations to environmental changes, molecular mechanisms behind these adaptations. Growth, culturing, and culture methodology (batch, chemostats). Growth phases, "non-culturable" resting phases.

Interaction, attack and defence: Symbiosis, virulence factors, secondary metabolism and their regulation. Antibiotic production and resistance to antibiotics.

Applications of the above for handling and controlling microorganisms in the society, e.g., in the food and biotechnology industries, and in connection with sustainable development. Ecological and evolutionary aspects of pathogens: how they have become what they are and how we can treat them.

Laboratory exercises: Microbiological work techniques, enrichment of bacteria and identification of them by physiological methods and bioinformatics, biogeochemical cycles, bacteriological water tests, plasmids, cell structure and differentiation in bacteria.

Seminars: Critical analysis of published articles and scientific data, calculation exercises concerning microbial growth, mini-symposium with critical analysis of recently reported research on a microorganism chosen by the student.

Both the theoretical and practical parts of the course prepare the student for deeper studies in the subject and for a career dealing with e.g. biotechnology, food processing, and control of infectious diseases.


Instruction is provided in the form of lectures, seminars, laboratory exercises, and on-site visits. Participation is mandatory in seminars and laboratory exercises including the instruction pertaining to them.


The examination includes the following parts:

Exercises (laboratory work and seminars) 5 ECTS

Exam 1 (theoretical knowledge, closed-book exam) 4 ECTS

Exam 2 (problem-solving, open-book exam) 6 ECTS

A final passing grade in the course requires approval of the student's participation in the exercises, including lab reports and presentations according to the instructions, and a passing grade on the exams.