SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3C525882
Module Leader John Butcher
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Introduction to microbiology

Summary of Content

The module covers the roles of microorganisms in the production of foods and beverages, industrial fermentation technology, food spoilage organisms including the role of mycotoxins and Pseudomonas , bacteriophage and their role in the food industry. Production of recombinant proteins in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Technologies for the generation of transgenic plants and the ethical issues raised by this technology.


Introduction: The exploitation of microorganisms by mankind; historical perspective and contrasts between traditional and modern technologies. Microorganisms in Fermentation Technology : Fermenter design; the fermenter as an environment; factors affecting growth. Kinetics of growth, growth phases and secondary metabolism, aspects and problems of scale up: inoculum development, sterilisation and contamination by phage. Antibiotic production as illustrated by the production of penicillin, and organic acid production Microorganisms in Food and Beverage Production: Diversity of microbial metabolism: fermentation pathways and products. Dairy products: manufacture of cheese and yoghurt. Alcoholic beverages: wine, beer and distilled drinks. Production of vinegar. Preservation of meat and vegetable foods by microbial activity Food Spoilage Organisms and Bacteriophage Including the roles of mycotoxins and Pseudomonas and the implications for the food industry. From a food safety perspective, strictly lytic phages are possibly one of the most harmless antibacterial approaches available these lectures will discuss the feasible applications of phage in food and their role in food safety Recombinant technology, plant transgenics and bioethics Vector and host systems for the production of recombinant proteins: advantages and disadvantages, scale up Principles of plant genetic modification, regulation of gene expression in plants, environmental biotechnology. Bioethics of GM crops. Laboratories The laboratory work in this module will cover a selection of advanced methods relevant to the subjects covered in the lecture programme including modern methods of rapid molecular, immunological and phenotypic diagnostic methods, the detection of mycotoxins and the use of bacteriophage as antimicrobial agents particularly relevant to the food industry but broadly applicable to other fields too. Tutorials Tutorials will be used to underpin the lecture and laboratory programme and for processing, critical evaluation and interpretation of experimental data

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:1. Define the potential role of microorganisms in the production of foods 2. Review the microbial causes of food spoilage3. Understand the uses of microorganisms through large scale cultivation for the manufacture of a range of products such as organic acids, antibiotics and other food supplements4. Demonstrate the use of microorganisms in the production of recombinant proteins5. Describe the emerging role and importance of bacteriophage in the food industry6. Understand and evaluate recombinant technology and the importance of plant transgenics in the food chain7. Be able to critically analyse controversial ethical issues emerging from advances in recombinant technology8. Be able to perform laboratory techniques, analyse and evaluate experimental results pertaining to the above

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The major strategy for module delivery will utilise lectures which be supported by a robust laboratory programme. The teaching strategy will progressively develop the use of textbooks, journals and internet for sources of information. Students will be given directed reading in appropriate research areas. Tutorials will be used to underpin the lecture and laboratory programme and give students the opportunity to critically examine aspects of the syllabus. Students will be encouraged to contribute to the Biotechnology blog, which will include discussions on bioethics and be updated with the latest developments in food technology.

Indicative Reading

Biotechnology (2009) 5 th Edition. Smith, John E . ISBN-13 978-0-521-88494-5 (Hardback)ISBN-13 978-0-521-71193-7 (paperback). Cambridge University Press Microbial Biotechnology (2007). 2 nd Edition. Glazer,A.N. and Nikaido,H . ISBN 9780521842105 Cambridge University Press Fermentation microbiology and biotechnology (2007) . 2 nd Edition. El-Mansi, E. M. T. and Doyle,M.P . Biosafety first-holistic approaches to risk and uncertainty in genetic engineering and genetically modified organisms (2008). IBSN 9788251921138. Traavik, T and Li Ching, L . Tapir Academic Press The Prokaryotes . Online journal resource Microbial Biotechnology online journal resource; <> The Plant Cell online journal resource <> Plant Science online journal resource Plant Cell Reports online journal resource Reading lists will be provided for each topic area based on scientific papers and peer reviews

Transferrable Skills

The major strategy for module delivery will utilise lectures and seminars. The teaching strategy will progressively develop the use of textbooks, journals and internet sources for information. The students will develop critical analysis skills in data analysis exercises and will develop their research, student centred learning and presentation during the seminar series. The students will be encouraged to participate in the Biotechnology discussion board, developed as a blog to include current up to date information on aspects of Biotechnology.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 16.00
Practicals (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FT) 130.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Tutorials (FT) 6.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 35% Lab Portfolio.
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 50.00 35% Unseen written exam