XWT-21805 Water Microbiology


Credits 5.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Literature study
Practical intensively supervised25
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. H Smidt
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. H Smidt
prof. dr. ir. AJM Stams
dr. ir. G Schraa
dr GJ Euverink
Examiner(s)prof. dr. H Smidt

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, with special focus on biofilms, 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 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 DNA extraction, 16S rRNA gene-targeted PCR based quantification and fingerprinting, and fluorescent in situ hybridization.

Learning outcomes:

Students will be able to:
- understand microbial processes that are important in natural and man-made aquatic ecosystems;
- understand the interactions of microorganisms with their living and a biotic environment, and how this affects the activity of relevant microbial processes;
- analyze microbial communities with cultivation-based and molecular techniques;
- predict the occurrence of microbial processes based on ecophysiological information;
- have insights 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 (problem-based learning) followed by a short presentation. Perform several practical experiments and write a report for each experiment.


The final mark is based on a written exam that covers the lectures, the practical course and the literature study (70%), and written reports of the literature study and the practical course reports (each 15%). To pass the course, the mark for the exam should at least be 5.5.

Restricted Optional for: MBTBiotechnologyMScG: Water Technology (Leeuwarden)3+4