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, 26 April 2012
Responsible department
Biology Education Centre

Entry requirements

120 credits. Alt 1) 60 credits biology and 30 credits chemistry; alt 2) chemistry 60 credits including Biochemistry 15 credits and biology 30 credits including molecular genetics 15 credits.

Learning outcomes

The course in microbiology gives the student knowledge on microorganismal morphology, metabolism, physiology, ecology and evolution. The student also gets training in problem-solving and critical analysis of scientific work within the subject area. This course prepares the student for in depth studies in the subject or for professional activities related to for instance biotechnological production, food handling and combating of infectious diseases.

After completing the course, the student should be able to

  • account for the structure, organisation, metabolism and evolution of viruses, bacteria, archaea and eukaryotic microorganisms
  • explain the life processes of chosen microorganisms at the molecular level and how these processes influence the environments as well as how environmental influences affect microorganismal differentiation, development of multi-cellularity, formation of biofilms, etc.
  • account for the most common pathogenic microorganisms and their main virulence factors
  • account for the use of genetically modified microorganisms (GMOs) within the biotechnology industry as well as review and discuss their use critically
  • work safety with microorganisms in the laboratory and cultivate microorganisms from natural environments
  • plan, carry out and analyse microbiological experiments, draw conclusions from these and design new testable hypotheses from generated and analysed data
  • review scientific work critically within the subject area. and communicate knowledge within the field both orally and in written form.


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.).

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. Genetic modification of microorganisms, implementation and ethical aspects.

Laboratory exercises: Microbiological work techniques, enrichment of bacteria and identification of them by physiological methods and bioinformatics, bacteriological water tests.

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.


Instruction is provided in the form of lectures, seminars, laboratory sessions and on-site visit. Participation in seminars and laboratory sessions are compulsory.


Modules: Exercises (laboratory sessions and seminars) 5 credits; Examination I 5 credits; Examination II 5 credits

The module exercises require active participation and laboratory reports and presentations according to instructions. The theory is examined through two written tests.