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 2023-2024


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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

Learning 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.

Required prerequisite knowledge

One of the following alternatives:
MLJ520 Environmental Microbiology
BIO220 Microbiology

Recommended prerequisites

BIO220 Microbiology, MLJ520 Environmental Microbiology, MLJ530 Environmental Process Analysis


Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written exam 1/1 4 Hours Letter grades Approved calculator

Coursework requirements

Laboratory 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

Head of Department:

Ingunn Westvik Jolma

Method of work

4 hours of lectures a week plus obligatory laboratory exercises

The course is based primarily on a based on lectures.

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 coordinator, the student 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 course 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