MIB-11806 Microbiology & Toxicology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)dr. SWM Kengen
Lecturer(s)dr. SWM Kengen
dr. ir. NW van den Brink
Examiner(s)dr. SWM Kengen
dr. ir. NW van den Brink

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Microbiological or toxicological knowledge is no prerequisite. It is an advantage when you have attended the Cell biology course (CBI10306) and have basic knowledge of (in)organic and physical chemistry. In case of deficiencies contact the lecturers.


Microbiology and Toxicology is a basic course, which is compulsory for BFT and BES. For both programs it is part of the first year of the bachelor phase. The course is composed of Microbiology and Toxicology lectures, and a Microbiology practical.
The Toxicology part deals with the basic concepts of Toxicology: the study of adverse effects that chemical substance may have on living organisms. The field of Toxicology integrates aspects of e.g. biology, pharmacology and biochemistry. The lectures will focus on which chemicals are toxic, what potential effects chemicals may have and a general introduction into the assessment of risks that chemicals may pose to humans and the environment. All will be illustrated with relevant cases on environmental risks of chemicals and risks related to food.
The Microbiology part deals with basic features of microbial cells (prokaryotes and primitive eukaryotes), history of microbiology, diversity of microbes, structure and function of cells, microbial metabolism, energy yielding reactions, fermentation and respiration, photosynthesis, growth, and nutrient cycles. The importance of microbes for life on earth is explained. At the end of the course it should be clear that microbes play an essential role in every-day life, even more than you ever anticipated. Moreover, microbes are important for various types of applied research, in the areas of food, health and environment. Microbes are important for improving the “quality of life”.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

- explain the importance of the large diversity of microorganisms for development and sustainment of life on earth;
- explain the following basic principles of metabolism of (micro)organisms: manipulation of free energy by enzymes to direct metabolism, importance of oxidation-reduction reactions for extracting energy from organic and inorganic substrates, glycolysis, citric acid cycle and respiratory chain;
- compare the basal metabolism with glucose as a model substrate in (micro)organisms in the presence and absence of external electron acceptors;
- summarize a number of microbial interactions in specific ecosystems;
- exemplify the influence of environmental factors on microbial activity in the cycling of nutrients, like carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and iron;
- practice a set of basic microbial experiments with emphasis on aseptic techniques for transfer and handling of microorganisms;
- enrich and isolate microorganisms under defined environmental conditions;
- summarize important generalized toxicological concepts underlying toxic responses following exposure to toxic chemicals;
- understand some important mechanisms (modes of action) of toxic chemicals that underlie the adverse effects observed to important toxic chemicals in food and the environment
- understand the basic principles of risk assessment of chemicals in food and the environment.


- attend lectures that are supported by a hard-copy textbook (microbiology) and an online textbook (toxicology);
- perform various laboratory experiments;
- assess acquired practical knowledge by answering questions, compose a lab journal and give a short presentation.


For the practical part students will receive a pass or fail based on their performance and lab journal. This mark is valid for 4 years.

The final course mark is based on a digital exam composed of multiple choice questions, covering microbiological, toxicological and practical microbiological aspects


- Michael T. Madigan; John M. Martinko; [et.al]. (2014). Brock Biology of Microorganisms. 15th ed. Benjamin Cummings. ISBN 13: 9781292235103.

- E-textbook Environmental Toxicology: https://maken.wikiwijs.nl/147644/Environmental_Toxicology__an_open_online_textbook

Compulsory for: BFTFood TechnologyBSc5AF
BESEnvironmental SciencesBSc5AF