This module aims to provide the student witha knowledge of the nature, structure and function of microorganisms, includingbacteria, fungi, protozoans and viruses. In addition, students will be introduced to cultural techniques, microscopy, taxonomy, nomenclature, biosafety, aseptic techniques as well as forensic and environmental microbiology.
The diversity of microorganisms. Overview of applications of microorganisms and their importance and relevance to nature and society. The main characteristics of bacteria, fungi, protozoans and viruses. Microbial cell structure. Taxonomy and nomenclature of microorganisms.
Microbial nutrition, cultivation and growth:
Nutritional requirements of microorganisms. Methods used to grow and isolate bacteria and fungi using various types of microbiological media, including selective and differential media. The microbial growth curve. Batch culture and continuous culture. Optimum growth conditions for microorganisms, including temperature, pH and gaseous requirements. Extremophiles and their applications.
Microbial isolation and enumeration.
Introduction to methods used to isolate pure cultures of bacteria from samples. Introduction to methods used to count microorganisms in samples and in the environment. Aseptic techniques.
Anabolism and catabolism. Overview of microbial metabolic pathways, microbial enzymes and control of enzyme activity.
Control of micro-organisms:
Overview of methods used to control microorganisms. Sterilisation and disinfection.
Biosafety levels of microorganisms. Containment of microorganisms. Standard microbiological safety practices and equipment. Safe disposal of microorganisms.
Introduction to microscopy:
The use of microscopes to examine microorganisms and other small objects. Introduction to optics. Different types of microscopes, including light microscopes and scanning electron microscopes. Staining techniques, including the Gram stain.
The developing subject of microbial forensics. The use of microorganisms in crime, to detect crime and to solve crimes. Forensic case studies involving microorganisms. Introduction to entomology in forensic science.
The Nitrogen, Suplhur and Carbon cycles. Introduction to bioremediation and waste water treatment.
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