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This subject introduces students to the diverse world of microbiology and the roles that microorganisms play in all aspects of agriculture, including animal, plant and soil science. The basic structure and biology of microorganisms will be covered, with a focus on bacteria, viruses and fungi. Aspects of molecular biology and genetics will also be introduced. The role that microorganisms play within the environment, in particular relating to plant, animal and soil health, will also be considered. The use of microorganisms in agricultural biotechnology is also discussed, including examples such as genetic modification of plants and the use of microorganisms in the expression of recombinant proteins.
Intended learning outcomes
- Understand and accurately apply terminology used in the field of microbiology, and understand the fundamental differences between different types of microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, fungi, prions and protozoa
- Describe the structure and biology of bacterial cells, including the arrangement and replication of genetic material, and understand the concept of virulence and virulence factors.
- Describe the structure and function of fungi
- Understand the fundamental concepts of virus structure and replication
- Explain how microorganisms may be detected within various environments, including how they may be cultivated within the laboratory setting, and molecular methods of detection.
- Be able to carry out basic laboratory techniques related to microbiology and molecular biology
- Explain the various relationships microorganisms have with their environments, including pathogenic, symbiotic and commensal lifestyles
- Understand and explain how microorganisms may be utilised in agricultural biotechnology, including specific techniques such as cloning and expression of genes using microorganisms.
- Explain how microorganisms can be genetically modified, and give examples of how this is useful in agricultural industries
- Give examples of specific microorganisms important to animals, plants and soil ecosystems, and explain why these microorganisms are significant
A student who satisfactorily completes this subject should be able to:
- Explain their understanding of microbiology as it relates to agriculture, both in writing and orally
- Review and evaluate readings relating to microbiology and agricultural production
- Participate as an effective member of a group in workshop discussions, and study groups
- Think independently and analytically, and direct his or her own learning; and
- Manage time effectively in order to be prepared for regular classes, tests and the examination
Last updated: 2 December 2019