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Environmental Biotechnology MLJ640

The course seeks to increase students' knowledge and understanding of environmental microbiology and its applications in addition to showing students how knowledge of microbial communities and their processes that can be of beneficial use, e.g. in the bioremediation of contaminated sites, and using our understanding of microorganisms in the environment to control their detrimental effects.

Course description for study year 2021-2022

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Offered by

Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry and Bioscience

Learning outcome

Knowledge Outcome

Students should gain understanding of the role of microorganisms in their environment and how this knowledge can be used to solve environmental and industrial problems.

Skills Outcome

Students should be able to utilize the knowledge gained on the role and importance of microorganisms in the environment and how the knowledge can be exploited. Students will be able to apply this knowledge in both real life and in a laboratory setting. In addition students will gain some basic environmental microbiology laboratory skills.

General Competency

To build on their prior knowledge of environmental microbiology giving students a deeper understanding of the impact of microorganisms on the environment and how to apply this knowledge in order to utilize microorganisms for bioremediation and in the oil industry.


The course will be divided into the following 4 Modules:

Module 1: Environmental Microbiology.

In this module the course will cover advanced topics in environment microbiology related to microbial  communities the relationships between microorganisms and microbial processes in different environments. In additions this section will also include methods used for the study of microbial communities such as metagenomics.

Module 2: Bioremediation

The bioremediation modules student will cover acclimation, detoxification, sorption, and bioavailability, effect of chemical structure on biodegradation, xenobiotics, cometabolism and application of bioremediation strategies.

Module 3: Oil Reservoir microbiology

This topic covers microbial communities in oil reservoirs, reservoir souring, biocorrosion and biofouling, microbial upgrading of oil and microbial influenced oil recovery.

Module 4: Methods in Environmental microbial biotechnology

This section will involve compulsory laboratory sessions relating to the other 3 modules. In addition the students will learn about the methods used in environmental biotechnology

Required prerequisite knowledge
One of the following alternatives:
MLJ520 Environmental Microbiology
BIO220 Microbiology
The students should have MLJ520 or BIO220 or an equivalent course in general microbiology.
Recommended prerequisites
BIO220 Microbiology, MLJ520 Environmental Microbiology, MLJ530 Environmental Process Analysis

Written exam and Biodegradation pathway project

Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written exam 3/4 4 Hours A - F Dictionary Valid calculator
Biodegradation pathway project 1/4 A - F

Written final exam counts 75%.Students complete a project where they write a review articleand give a related presentation, 25% combined. Course teacher sets final mark. Evaluation of the project requires that the lab section has been passed. No resit exam is offered for the project. If a student wishes to redo the project, this can be done next time the subject is taught. 

Coursework requirements
Laboratory Assignments, Class Assignments

Students are required to attend a laboratory section of this course relating to methods used in environmental microbial biotechnology. 

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 course examinations. 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
Method of work

5 hours of lectures a week and laboratory exercises in module 4.

The course is based primarily on a series of lectures, but will also include a project  and presentation and some Laboratory work and lab reports.

Open for
Biological Chemistry - Master of Science Degree Programme Environmental Engineering - Master of Science Degree Programme
Course assessment
Use evaluation forms and/or conversation for students' evaluation of the course and teaching, according to current guidelines
The syllabus can be found in Leganto