module specification

BE6006 - Microbial Biotechnology (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Microbial Biotechnology
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 300
223 hours Guided independent study
77 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Essay (2000 words)
Unseen Examination 20%   Sem 1 exam (1 hr)
Coursework 30%   Laboratory report (2000 words)
Unseen Examination 20%   Sem 2 exam (1 hr)
Running in 2021/22

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module will provide students with an understanding of applications of manipulation of microorganisms and potential genetic model organisms for gene manipulation, expression and regulation, microbial cultivation and their applications in pharmaceutical, food and agriculture sectors. In addition, students will gain in-depth skills in research processes.
The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications).This module will provide essential knowledge of genetic manipulation and application in microorganisms. The students’ will have the opportunity to evaluate and appraise technological developments and downstream application of biotechnology processes and procedures. Module material will provide critical evaluation of research and development in a biotechnology industrial/commercial context. This module aims to provide students with the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring: the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility; decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts; and, the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.

Prior learning requirements

BC4003, BE5060


An introduction to biotechnology including traditional applications of biotechnology,  microorganisms as genetic model organisms, genetic manipulation of microorganisms (traditional methods of gene manipulation), gene expression and regulation, fermentation technology, microorganisms with biotechnological applications: bacterial conjugation, microbial hosts for genetic manipulation, cultivation - starter culture technology, bioreactors: continuous and batch cultivation, upstream and downstream processes (preparation of bioreactor and the starter culture, scale up  and bio-separation process. microorganisms with biotechnological applications, enzymes in biotechnology, basic principles of recombinant DNA technology, plant and animal biotechnology, production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals (bioconversion), environmental biotechnology, role of microorganisms in production and transformation of food and beverages, microbial production of natural antimicrobials and their application in the food industry, functional foods and biotechnology, microorganisms in bioremediation and in the generation of energy, biotherapeutics, ethics in biotechnologyand Role of bioinformatics in biotechnology   LO1-5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students will be provided with the opportunity to acquire knowledge of the subject matter through a variety of teacher led activities and self-directed study. Students’ knowledge and understanding of ‘Microbial Biotechnology’ will be developed through a programme of lectures (36 hours), tutorial (18 hours) and supporting practical exercises (22.5 hours). Students' ability to handle and interpret information will be encouraged through these laboratory based investigations, most taken over two weeks, and the guided use of expected directed reading of additional literature on the subject, video material and other learning resources.
Lectures will be used to provide a conceptual framework. Student centred assignments, including research for writing the essay (about 115 hours) and production of a laboratory report (110 hours) will enable students to reinforce and expand their knowledge and develop subject skills.
Self-managed time and private study should be spread out over the whole year and not left until the final weeks, however, opportunities for Self-directed revision have also been provided within the program.
PDP: on completion of this module students provide an evaluation of how the module allowed them to develop skills such as information technology, organisational skills, team building, communication, time management, and working under pressure.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Evaluate methods of gene manipulation in microorganisms.
2. Critically evaluate protocols used for microbial cultivation and culture scale up.
3. Demonstrate theoretical and conceptual understanding of applications of microbial biotechnology.
4. Analyse contributions of biotechnology in food, agriculture and environment
5. Critically review ethical issues in biotechnology including impact on society and the environment

Assessment strategy

This module will be summatively assessed by:
1. An unseen exam (1 h) at the end of first semester, covering syllabus taught during the first semester
2. Coursework 1 (2000 words) on topic (s) related to microbial biotechnology
3. Coursework 2 (2000 words) on topic (s) related to applications of biotechnology
4. This module will be summatively assessed by an unseen final exam (1 h).

The coursewroks will be formatively assessed (feedbacks will be provided) before final submission.

Component                                Marks  Learning outcomes
Coursework 1 (2000 words)                        30%  1, 2, 3, 4,
Unseen exam (1 hr)                           20%  1, 2, 3
Coursework 2 (lab report) 2000 words        30%                    1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Unseen final exam (1 hr)                             20%                     1, 3, 4, 5

To pass the module, students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40%.  There will be an attendance requirement for the practical sessions. If the module is passed on reassessment, then the maximum mark awarded will be 40%.


Crommelin DJA and Sindelar RD (2008) Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (3rd edition). London, Informa Health Care
Freitas F, Alves VD and Reis MAM (2011) Advances in bacterial exopolysaccharides: from production to biotechnological applications. Trends in Biotechnology 29 (8), 1-9
Glazer AN and Nikaido H (2007) Microbial Biotechnology: Fundamentals of Applied Microbiology 2nd ed., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press [CORE]
Park JR, McFarlane I, Phipps RH and Ceddia G (2011) The role of transgenic crops in sustainable development. Plant Biotechnology Journal  9 (1) 2–21
Seidman LA and Moore CJ (2009)Basic Laboratory Methods for Biotechnology (2nd Edition), Benjamin Cummings
Smith JE (2009) Biotechnology 5th ed., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
Stahl U, Donalies UEB and Nevoigt E (2008) Food Biotechnology (eds), Berlin, Springer
Stewart  CNJr (2008) Plant Biotechnology and Genetics: Principles, Techniques and Applications (ed), New Jersey, John Wiley and Sons
Habron S  (2014) Molecular biology and biotechnology, Royal Society of Chemistry     [CORE]
Watson JD, Caudy AA, Myers RM, and Witkowski JA (2007) Recombinant DNA: Genes and Genomes, a short course 3rd ed. W.H. Freeman and Company/Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press