XWT-21805 Water Microbiology


Credits 5.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. CM Plugge
ir. PHA van Dorenmalen
Lecturer(s)dr. CM Plugge
Examiner(s)dr. CM Plugge

Language of instruction:



The Water Microbiology course is an introductory course that addresses various aspects of physiology and ecology of microorganisms that are important for the functioning of natural and man-made aquatic ecosystems. The lectures will deal with the following topics: diversity of microorganisms in aquatic ecosystems, microbial cycling of nutrients, bioenergetics of microbial processes, microbial growth, microbial interactions with their living and abiotic environment, molecular methods for detection and identification of microorganisms and their metabolic activities.
Apart from the lectures, the students will perform a literature study, where they will prepare a synthesis from a small number of papers on a selected topic in the field of water microbiology. In the experimental part, the students will be introduced in the application of standard microbiological and molecular methods for the characterization of composition and diversity of microbial communities that can be found in natural aquatic ecosystems and those relevant in biotechnological applications. Techniques include enrichment and cultivation, DNA extraction, 16S RNA gene-targeted PCR based quantification and fingerprinting, and fluorescent in situ hybridization.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand microbial processes that are important in natural and artificial aquatic ecosystems;
- understand the interactions of microorganism with their living and abiotic environment, and how this affects the activity of relevant microbial processes;
- analyse microbial communities with cultivation based and molecular techniques;
- predict the occurrence of microbial processes based on eco-physiological information;
- have insight in new developments in the field of aquatic microbiology;
- produce a concise and synthetic report from literature related to a selected topic in the field of aquatic ecology.


- attend the lectures that are supported by a reader and textbook;

- study literature related to a selected topic in the field of aquatic ecology;

- perform several practical experiments and write a report for each experiment followed by a short presentation.


The final exam of the course consists of:
- a written exam that covers lectures and practical course (60%);
- practical assignments (20%);
- synthetic report based on literature (20%).
To pass the course, students need to have a partial grade of 5.5 for all parts of the examination.


Madigan, M; Martinko, J; [ et. al]. (2019). Biology of Microorganisms. 15th global ed., Pearson Education Inc.; publishing: Pearson Education. ISBN-10: 1-292-23510-1 
Guide practical training,
Additional literature.

Restricted Optional for: MWTWater Technology (joint degree)MSc2WD