BI1S1-Introductory Microbiology

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Sheila MacIntyre


Summary module description:

This module aims to provide students with an introduction to the discipline of Microbiology. Students will learn the fundamental biology of bacteria, viruses and fungi; what is required for their growth, the diverse environments where they grow, how some are of benefit and central to industry while others cause disease. The module will also provide students with an understanding of methods used to control microbial growth, avoid contamination and prevent infectious disease. Students will learn how fundamental principles of handling and growing microbes are put into practice and the basic skills and techniques needed for safe laboratory work.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Typical learning outcomes include:

- explain key landmarks in Microbiology
- state fundamental characteristics of major groups of bacteria, viruses and fungi
- discuss replication of these microbes
- discuss nutrition, growth and quantitation of bacteria and fungi
- explain structure and significance of peptidoglycan and endospores
- outline key steps in pathogenesis of bacterial disease
- describe physical and chemical methods of control of bacterial and viral growth and disease
- outline the selectivity and action of the antibiotic penicillin
- discuss the principle of vaccination against viral and bacterial disease
- discuss the significance of yeast to industry and other microbes to biotechnology and disease
- using basic aseptic technique perform isolation, staining and microscopy of bacterial and yeast cells.

Additional outcomes:
Improved organisational skills through required preparation in advance of and during practical sessions. Improved information retrieval, oral presentation and team working skills will be developed in group study sessions.

Outline content:
Topics typically covered in lectures:

An introduction to the world of microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa) and their impact on health, agriculture, food and pharmaceutical industry, molecular and genomic biology
- Key landmarks in development of practical and theoretical aspects of Microbiology as a science
- Structure and some key components of bacterial cells - Gram +ve and -ve bacteria, cell walls and peptidoglycan, spores division by binary fission
- Sources of nutrients, C-source and energy used by bacterial cells; diverse environments (temperature, pH, salinity) in which bacteria grow, applications to selection and culture of specific bacteria
- Growth and quantitation of bacteria in batch and continuous culture
- Control of microbial growth - aseptic technique, physical and chemical methods
- Properties of select bacteria important in disease
- How do bacteria cause disease? Stages in pathogenesis - Vibrio cholerae as example; infectious disease versus intoxication
- Biology of fungi - nutrition, classes of fungi, importance and uses of fungi
- The discipline of virology and methods of studying viruses
- Viral classification and strategies of viral replication
- Prevention of disease, Koch's postulates, antibiotics, vaccines

Applications of selected microbes in industry and prevention of disease (eg yeast, penicillin production, HPV and diphtheria vaccines) are further studied through directed study, while in practical sessions students learn aseptic technique and put into practice the basic skills of handling, growing, staining and visualising bacterial and yeast cells.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures, practicals (supported by online videos), directed reading and group preparation of material for oral presentation, numerical exercise.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18
Seminars 2
Practicals classes and workshops 11
Guided independent study 69
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 80
Report 10
Class test administered by School 10

Other information on summative assessment:
Assessment includes: a practical report including numerical growth exercise; and BB based test.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    A one-and-a-half hour examination

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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