BMS215 Microbial Biotechnology (8)

This subject introduces students to microbial biotechnology, the use of microbes to generate useful products or to degrade wastes (bioremediation). Examples include the microbial production of enzymes (e.g. amylase), antibiotics (e.g. penicillin) or hormones (e.g. human insulin), and the development of microbial strains that are highly efficient at catabolising natural organic compounds or synthetic chemical compounds. Microbial biotechnology overlaps with the recently developing field of designer bacteria, the so-called 'synthetic microbiology', where large sections of a microbial genome are engineered in order to optimise the metabolism for specific purposes. This complements the previous field of (natural) strain development. The advent of genome sequencing, proteomics and metabolomics now allow comprehensive insights into microbial physiology and coupled with the ability to synthesise long stretches of DNA, enables genome engineering on a grand scale, with many new possibilities. Bioinformatics is an important tool in this process. The subject also introduces students to the commercial aspects of biotechnology, such as patent searches, as a way to establish novelty for potential new ideas.

The residential school for this subject will develop practical skills and further theoretical knowledge in microbial biotechnology techniques.

Subject availability
* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.
Session 1 (30)
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.
Subject Information
Grading System
One session
School of Biomedical Sciences
Assumed Knowledge

Knowledge of bacterial and viral structure, genetics and function and host -microbe interactions as covered in a first year microbiology subject (e.g. MCR101)

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate a familiarity with the wide diversity of microbes, and their potential for use in microbial biotechnology
  • be able to demonstrate a knowledge of microbial gene and genome structure and function, and how these can be manipulated
  • be able to demonstrate understanding of the differences between classical genetic selection and recombinant or synthetic DNA technologies
  • be able to demonstrate familiarity with methods to analyse and engineer genes for optimal expression
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the processes involved in small-scale and industrial scale bacterial fermentations
  • be able to demonstrate competence in finding, interpreting and analysing relevant data, such as genes, patents and publications
  • be able to demonstrate understanding of some of the legislative and ethical issues related to microbial biotechnology
The subject will cover the following topics:
  • Introduction to microbial biotechnology
  • Bacterial genes, genomes and genetics
  • Microbial biotechnology
  • Recombinant microbial biotechnology products
  • Bioremediation
  • Biotechnology regulation and ethics
Residential School
This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory Residential School.

The residential school teaches students practical skills and principles relating to microbial biotechnology, and allows students to demonstrate proficiency in these skills and principles.

Special Resources

This subject has a 3 day residential school for which students will have travel and accommodation costs

Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure you will need to contact your Course Director. You can find the name and contact details for your Course Director in your offer letter or contact your School office.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 334 733 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2017 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: June 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.