Environmental Microbiology (MLJ520)

The main objectives are to introduce the general biology of microorganisms and general concept of microbial ecology. Furthermore, important microbial processes in natural and technical systems are studied.

Course description for study year 2023-2024


Course code




Credits (ECTS)


Semester tution start


Number of semesters


Exam semester


Language of instruction



The course consists of the following modules:

Unit 1. Cellular Biology:

What is microbiology, Biomolecules, Cell structure and function, Metabolism, Cellular growth, Bacterial Genetics

Unit 2. Microbial Diversity

Evolution and systematics, The Bacteria, The Archaea, Microbial eucaryotes

Unit 3. Metabolic Diversity

Phototrophy, Autotrophy, Chemolitotrophy, Heterotrophy, Fermentation, Anaerobic respiration, Aerobic Chemoorganoheterotrophs.

Unit 4. Microbial Ecology

Ecological concepts, Interactions, Soil habitats, Aquatic habitats, Biofilms, Nutrient cycles.

Unit 5. Environmetal Microbiology

Wastewater microbiology, Drinking water microbiology, Biodegradation and Bioremediation.

Learning outcome


This course aims to introduce students to the fundamentals of environmental microbiology using a theoretical analysis and some practical work via a laboratory experiment. During the course the students will gain theoretical knowledge on

  • How bacteria obtain energy through different metabolic strategies
  • Introduce student to the basics of microbial molecular biology
  • learn the basic terminology and concepts of microbial ecology
  • Introduce students to waterborne pathogens and water treatment


  • utilize sterile technique for the growth of microorganisms
  • grow and handle microorganisms in the lab
  • present and analysis laboratory result in a written format
  • learn how to present information orally in an effective way in front of their peers

General competence

The student should understand the basic concepts learning in environmental microbiology an apply appropriate terminology and apply their knowledge to discuss and describe environmental microbiology issues.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Recommended prerequisites

30 ECTS of chemistry, and 10 ECTS of biology.


Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written exam 1/1 3 Hours Letter grades Approved calculator, English-Native language dictionary,

The course has a final school exam that is worth 100 % of the grade.

Coursework requirements

Presentation, Laboratory report

Students are required to attend a laboratory section of this course relating to methods used in environmental microbiology and complete the obligatory microbe project.

Mandatory lab assignments shall be completed at the times and in the groups that are assigned and published on Canvas. Valid absence due to illness or for other reasons must be communicated to the laboratory personnel as soon as possible. In cases of valid absence, it may be possible to complete the lab assignments at other times, where agreed with the teaching staff. This is not an entitlement.

Labs must be approved in order to access the exam. No resit is offered for the laboratory section. If a student wishes to redo the lab, this can be done next time the subject is taught.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Krista Michelle Kaster

Coordinator laboratory exercises:

Hong Lin

Head of Department:

Ingunn Westvik Jolma

Method of work

4 hours lectures per week. 1 week of lab.

The course is based primarily on a series of lectures.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Environmental Microbiology (MET160_1) 5
Environmental Microbiology (MLJ522_1) 10

Open for

Biological Chemistry - Master of Science Degree Programme Environmental Engineering - Master of Science Degree Programme
Exchange programme at Faculty of Science and Technology

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


The syllabus can be found in Leganto