MIB-20306 Microbial Physiology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)dr. DZ Machado de Sousa
Lecturer(s)dr. DZ Machado de Sousa
dr. I Sanchez Andrea
dr. CM Plugge
Examiner(s)dr. DZ Machado de Sousa
dr. CM Plugge

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

Microbiology & Biochemistry


The Microbial Physiology course is an advanced course that addresses various aspects of microbial physiology. The following subjects are dealt with in the lectures: 1. Bioenergetics of microbial processes, 2. Respiration and fermentation, 3. Catabolic and 4. Anabolic pathways. In addition to these general aspects, various specific topics will be covered, such as pathway analysis using -omics, microbial interactions, methane formation and oxidation, bacteria and electricity, production of chemicals by microorganisms, and biofuels.
Apart from the lectures the students will participate in a tutorial in which they work on theoretical assignments, including the analysis of recent scientific papers. The assignments guide the students to get familiar with various techniques that are common in microbial physiology research, e.g. to construct mass balances, calculate free energy changes, and work with redox couples. In addition, the students will take part in a practical course. In small groups (2-3 students) practical experience will be gathered by using methods and techniques that are common in microbial physiology research. The various experiments are often part of the current research of the laboratory.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the principles of the energy-yielding and -consuming reactions;
- explain the various catabolic and anabolic pathways and the mechanisms of energy conservation in microbial metabolism;
- compose redox reactions and calculate Gibbs energy values for energy generating reactions using thermodynamic data as well as redox potentials;
- identify the various physiological groups of bacteria/archaea with their special features, their applications and ways to study them;
- analyse recent microbial physiology related papers by working on tutorial questionnaires and to compose concise answers;
- execute various analyses/experiments commonly involved in microbial physiology research and interpret and describe the results concisely.


- attend the lectures;
- study literature and tutorials;
- work on tutorial assignments and answer to a questionnaire for the biweekly assignment;
- perform several practical experiments and answer a questionnaire for the biweekly experiment.


- written test with open questions and multiple choice questions (60%);
- three interim group reports on tutorial assignments (15%);
- three interim group reports on practical experiments and observations of practical performance and poster presentation (25%).
The written test needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass.


Brock Biology of Microorganisms (15th ed), by Michael T. Madigan. ISBN: 9780134261928.

Compulsory for: BBTBiotechnologyBSc1AF