BSc Microbiology / Course details
Year of entry: 2022
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Course unit details:
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Offered by||School of Biological Sciences|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
This Research Skills Module is designed to develop your experimental design, report writing and practical skills. You will be introduced to microbiology research techniques in a laboratory based project. You will use techniques such as aseptic technique, preparation of growth media and identification of bacterial strains.
|Unit title||Unit code||Requirement type||Description|
|Microbes, Humankind and the Environment||BIOL10532||Pre-Requisite||Compulsory|
|Fundamentals of Bacteriology||BIOL21181||Co-Requisite||Compulsory|
This unit is compulsory for Microbiology Honours students. It may be selected by Biology, Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology students, and anyone else who has taken BIOL10532 and is doing additional Microbiology units in the second year.
The unit aims to increase the students understanding of the following:
1. specific skills associated with microbiology including:
a) good microbiological practice;
b) enrichment of bacteria from the environment;
d) differential media for identification of Enterobacteriaceae;
e) staining techniques to identify the presence/absence of bacterial structures;
f) basic biochemical tests, such as API strips to identify bacteria;
g) rDNA sequencing in bacterial identification;
Students will have mastered:
• Aseptic techniques, subculturing and purification of bacterial cultures
• Examination of stained bacteria in the light microscope
• How to recognise the colony morphology of bacterial strains
• Use of spectrophotometers to follow growth of cultures in liquid media
• Determination of viable counts of bacterial cultures
• Preparation of solutions and growth media and maintenance of pure cultures
• Identification of bacterial strains (medical and non-medical) using laboratory tests, commercial biochemical test kits, and 16S rDNA sequencing
• Design of experiments, including necessary controls. These will include experiments on bacterial growth kinetics and physiology.
The Microbiology RSM will enable students to acquire experience of a wide range of fundamental and contemporary microbiological techniques. Weeks 1 and 2 of the RSM will be carried out in conjunction with the Molecular Biology RSM unit. Weeks 3 and 4 will comprise only those students taking the Microbiology RSM.
Students will work in pairs
Week 1 PCR and cloning of C. jejunii glycoprotein encoding genes. Putative glycoprotein encoding geneRun will be amplified by PCR and analysed by agarose gel electrophoresis to verify size/purity The PCR product will be ligated into plasmid (InFusion cloning) and transformed into E. coli.
Week 2 Recombinant E. coli will be purified to homogeneity and the glycosylation stsatus determined by Western blotting.
Week 3 Experiments designed to investigate the physiological conditions required to support the growth of the obligate halophilic bacterium Vibrio natrigens will be conducted. Halophilic bacteria will be enriched from food and environmental sources and their basic physiological properties defined using microscopy and staining techniques.
Week 4 Potential food-poisoning bacteria from milk will be enriched and purified to homogeneity. The genus and species of these bacteria will be determined using a series of biochemical tests and rDNA sequence analysis. The relative ability of these bacteria to resist killing by heat will be explored to determine the effectiveness of techniques such as pasteurisation and sterilisation.
Teaching and learning methods
Group activity and talk
Transferable skills and personal qualities
Category of outcome
Students will be able to:
Knowledge and understanding
develop an understanding of the basis of several commonly used techniques in microbiology, including those used in bacterial identification.
design and interpret experiments.
acquire experience of current scientific methodologies appropriate to microbiology.
Transferable skills and personal qualities
work as a team.
- Analytical skills
- Analysing graphical data produced during the practical
- Group/team working
- Students carry out the practical in pairs which requires team work
- Project management
- Students have to give some thought to the experiment - devise a protocol and decide what order to do each of the tasks
- The write up will require reading the literature in order to construct an introduction to the paper and to discuss their results in relation to published findings.
- Written communication
- The students have to write a practical assignment up in the form of a scientific paper
|Practical skills assessment||20%|
2x Individual post-lab assessment sheets worth 5% each (10% of total mark)
Group activity and talk (20% of total mark)
Practical exam (20% of total mark)
Full research style practical report (50% of total mark)
All work will be marked, annotated and handed back to students during the exam period.
Relevant review and primary papers
For Information and advice on Link2Lists reading list software, see:
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment practical exam||2|
|Practical classes & workshops||74|
|Independent study hours|
|Nicola High||Unit coordinator|