NEM-31806 Plants and Health 2


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper0
Group work4
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. A Schots
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. HJ Bosch
prof. dr. RD Hall
dr. IM van der Meer
dr. ir. A Schots
dr. ir. IF Kappers
dr. TA van Beek
Examiner(s)dr. ir. A Schots

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

CBI-20306 Cell Biology & Health.

Continuation courses:

CBI-30806 Immunotechnology; NEM-30306 Host-Parasite Interactions and VIR-30306 Molecular Virology.


Plants affect human and animal health in a variety of ways. Plants provide essential nutrients such as vitamins, amino acids and lipids and they produce other compounds either beneficiary for health (including biopharmaceuticals) or having an adverse effect (e.g. toxins, allergens). The effects plants have on the wellbeing of humans also have sociological/psychological backgrounds, have economic implications and led to legislation and regulation. The main focus of this course will be on compounds, their production in plants, the possibilities to improve their production and their biochemical/physiological effects on animal and man. However, the effect, from a social scientific point of view will also be treated. The course focuses on:
1) How various plant compounds affect health, which plants produce what compounds, why do plants make these compounds and how plants can be manipulated, using gene technology or plant breeding, to produce more of a desired compound or less of an undesired compound. As such relevant aspects of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, immunology and human pathology and physiology will be treated in an integrated fashion.
2) The societal and legal aspects of the application of plant compounds in relation to the health and well-being of humans. This aspect will be treated in an integrated fashion.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain how and why plants produce compounds that affect health;
- analyse how these compounds (secondary metabolites) are produced in plants;
- explain how various groups of plant produced chemical compounds affect health;
- design (basic) expression strategies for biopharmaceuticals (heterologously produced proteins) and is able to explain their application for healthcare purposes;
- apply the basic principles of biochemical pathway engineering to improve or alter the production of compounds having an effect on health;
- apply (in theory) the "-omics" as means to unravel biochemical pathways and as means to make an inventory of the compounds produced in a plant species which is essential for application in a medical context.;
- interpret the direct and indirect effects of these compounds on the human body;
- appraise health claims.


- lectures;
- group assignments;
- project study including hands on practicals.


- written open book exam: three problem cases will be given with 4-8 questions per case to be answered. (40%);
- assignments: after every lecture the students will be given an assignment on which they will work in groups. At the end of the day the students will report their findings in the form of a short presentation, role play, flyer or other work form. For every assignment a mark will be given. (the average counts for 20% in the final mark);
- project: A project proposal will be written experiments carried out and a report and poster will be presented at the end of the course (40%);
Each component needs a minimum of 5.5 to pass.


Will be made available at the start of the course.

Restricted Optional for: MPBPlant BiotechnologyMScB: Plants for Human and Animal Health3WD
Compulsory for: WUPBTBSc Minor Plant Biotechnology3WD