This course introduces biotechnology-based applications of microbes and their enzymes. The first part provides fundamental microbiology such as the classification of microorganisms, their structure, metabolism, growth and functional characteristics, handling and identification. The content of the first part will be emphasized with practical sessions, discussions and written assignments and is the foundation for more specific topics.
The second part will introduce different fields of microbial biotechnology and how they have been shaped by recent progress in microbiology, molecular biology and biochemistry. State of the art will be covered regarding subjects such as microbial diversity as a resource of enzymes and biocompounds; bioprospecting, thermophiles, marine microbes and microalgae, biorefineries (emphasis on seaweed and lignocellulose), enzymes (emphasis on carbohydrate active enzymes), metabolic engineering (genetic engineering, omics), energy-biotechnology, cultivation and fermentation technology. The course will exemplify Icelandic biotechnology where applicable. The subject will be presented in lectures and students will be trained in reading original research papers on selected topics in the field; Cultivation/production technology and yeast will be presented specifically in practical sessions in the brewing of beer.
This course is partly taught in parallel with Microbiology II (LÍF533M) and intended for students that have neither completed Microbiology (LÍF201G) nor a similar course. Students must complete the first part of the course before participating in the latter. The number of participants might be restricted.
Additional teaching one saturday in end of September or beginning of October.
Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:
- distinguish between different groups of microorganisms, i.e. prokaryotes (bacteria, archaea), eukaryotes (microalgae, protozoa, fungi) and viruses
- explain nutritional types of microorganisms, their growth and parameters that affect it
- describe how microorganisms and their products are applied in the industry
- describe the production of biofuels from different biomass resources
- outline microbial strain optimization through model predictions and metabolic engineering
- explain bioreactor design and industrial fermentation, for example in brewing
- properly handle microorganisms and perform experiments in a laboratory setting
- analyze, interpret and present experimental results