Course code BIO233

BIO233 Experimental Environmental Microbiology

There may be changes to the course due to to corona restrictions. See Canvas and StudentWeb for info.

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2021 - 2022 .

Course responsible: Knut Rudi
Teachers: Inga Leena Angell, Linda Liberg Bergaust, Else Marie Aasen, Rannei Tjåland
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science
Teaching language: NO
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
48 students (including BIO234).
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in the Spring parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in the Spring parallel.
Course frequency: Annually
Preferential right:
  • The Bachelor's program in Biotechnology
  • The Master's program in Biotechnology, specialisation Microbiology
Course contents:

The course is designed for students in the fields of microbiology, microbial ecology, environmental microbiology, food microbiology, human- and veterinary microbiology. The course will mainly cover the sustainability goal Clean water and proper sanitation (number 6).

LECTURES: Introduction to the principles of how to describe the bacterial diversity with special emphasis on modern molecular biological and bioinformatic analyzes. Furthermore, the major groups of microorganisms in different environments will be described. Some important microbial communities with focus on communities associated with humans and animals will be reviewed. This will cover water and water treatment, fecal contamination as source for antibiotic resistance, and sewage treatment.

LABORATORY EXERCISES: Focus on the description of bacterial diversity in selected model environments. The cultivation independent techniques will focus on the use of second generation DNA sequencing technology, and analytical tools to interpret such data. By using culture-based techniques, an assessment of the cultivable bacteria will be made. By culture independent methods it will be determined how this corresponds with the total number of bacteria in the samples. In addition, both microscopy- and DNA-based techniques will be evaluated, to investigate the living but not-culturable bacteria. Properties of culturable bacteria will be studied biochemically, whereas the properties of the non-culturable bacteria will be determined by the gene composition. By culture based methods we will also investigate the presence of antibiotic resistance.

Learning outcome:


Students will get insight into both the description and significance of microorganisms in some central environments such as drinking water,sediment and sewage, as well as insight into the ecological principles and use of complex microorganism communities in environmental surveillance. 


Students will learn methods to describe the composition of microorganisms, microbial properties, and microbial processes. 


Students will get an understanding of how traditional culture based techniques can be combined with modern DNA techniques to describe a microbial community. 

There will be special emphasis on how to write scientific reports based on experimental data, in addition to critical reflection related to current  theories.

Learning activities:
Lectures. Seminars. Laboratory exercises with journal writing.
Teaching support:
Contact with teachers via Canvas and e-mail. Lecture notes will be posted on Canvas. 

Textbook: Latest edition of Environmental Microbiology, Elsevier Science & Technology.

Laboratory Practice booklets and other written material handed out.

Knowledge in microbiology corresponding to BIO130.Knowledge in biochemistry theory corresponding to KJB200.Knowledge in biochemistry lab corresponding to KJB201.Knowledge in molecular biolology corresponding to BIO210.

Recommended prerequisites:
Organic chemistry, genetics, bioinformatics and statistics.
Mandatory activity:
Laboratory exercises with report. Attendance at lectures.

Skills for interpretation of experimental data is evaluated by the filing of journals. The journal counts 1/3 (A-F)

Evaluation of student learning will be based on their theoretical knowledge and understanding, being tested in a final written exam of 3.5 hours. Grade Weight 2/3 (A-F)

Nominal workload:

250 hours

  • Lectures / seminars: 26 hours.
  • Laboratory exercises: 50 hours.
  • Preparations for the exercises and journal writing: 54 hours.
  • Self-study: 120 hours.
Entrance requirements:
Special requirements in Science
Reduction of credits:
BIO234 reduction of 5 credits
Type of course:
Lectures / tutorials: 2 hours per week for 13 weeks. Laboratory Exercises with journal writing: 2 + 3 hours per week for 10 weeks.
BIO234 = the theory part of BIO233. Because of this there is an overlap of 5 credits between BIO233 and BIO234.

An external examiner approves the examination questions and marks a minimum of 25 selected examination papers.

Internal examiner on the laboratory reports.

Allowed examination aids: A1 No calculator, no other aids
Examination details: Combined Assessment: A - E / F