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Unit of study_

MICR2031: Microbiology

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.

Code MICR2031
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
MICR2021 or MICR2921 or MICR2024 or MICR2931
Assumed knowledge:
Fundamental concepts of microorganisms, biomolecules and ecosystems; CHEM1XX1

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. use aseptic technique to isolate and grow microorganisms into pure culture
  • LO2. employ safe techniques for manipulating microbes in the laboratory, core skills of aseptic technique, and how to grow, enumerate and observe microbes macroscopically and microscopically
  • LO3. describe the special features of microbial biology that explain their ubiquity
  • LO4. identify and describe the principles of microbial identification, diversity, evolution and phylogeny
  • LO5. apply knowledge of the biology, diversity and ecology of microorganisms to evaluate real-world situations
  • LO6. apply rational, independent and critical thought to the diagnosis of microbial disease
  • LO7. appraise microbiology in natural resource management, food security and global change
  • LO8. critically evaluate the importance of microbes in our society and their roles in both harmful and helpful processes
  • LO9. gather, record, synthesise and interpret data from experimental microbiology
  • LO10. communicate your knowledge of microbiology using oral, visual and written formats.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 1 week before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.