NEM-31806 Plants and Health


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Practical intensively supervised40
Project learning17
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. A Schots
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. A Schots
dr. LJWJ Gilissen
dr. ir. AR van der Krol
dr. D Vreugdenhil
prof. dr. HJ Bosch
prof. dr. HJ Bouwmeester
dr. TA van Beek
guest lecturers
Examiner(s)dr. ir. A Schots

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

CBI-20306 Cell Biology & Health

Continuation courses:

NEM-30306, VIR-30306, CBI-30806


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 well being of humans also have sociological/psychological backgrounds and have economic implications. 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 socio-economic effect of the application of plant compounds on the health and well-being of humans. This aspect will be treated in an intergrated fashion.

Learning outcomes:

After this course students will have the knowledge, tools and skills:
- to analyse how and why plants produce compounds that affect health;
- to identify various groups of relevant chemical compounds;
- to produce biopharmaceuticals in plants and develop applications for healthcare purposes;
- to develop strategies for biochemical pathway engineering to improve or alter the production of compounds having an effect on health and use, at a basic level, 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;
- to describe the relation between the production of compounds and biopharmaceuticals in plants and the societal impact;
- to describe the relation between the production of compounds and biopharmaceuticals in plants and their added value to economy/marketing;
- to carry out a case study and present the results professionally.


- lectures;
- project study including hands on practicals.


A written exam and a written report for the project (including practicals). Active participation in problem based learning is required.


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