Examines morphology, genetics, physiology, ecology, and control of microorganisms. Emphasizes application of microbiological techniques to selected fields. Lecture 3 hours. Recitation and laboratory 3 hours. Total 6 hours per week.


This is a one semester college transfer-level course designed to meet the needs of science majors. The student is introduced to the morphology, genetics, physiology, ecology, and control of microorganisms, as well as to the nature of infectious diseases and immunity. Standard microbiological techniques for isolating, culturing, handling, examining, and identifying microorganisms are acquired. A basic understanding of the biology of microorganisms might be useful to individual planning careers involving pure and/or applied research, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of pathogenic disease, food handling and/or processing, agriculture, industrial processes utilizing microbes, water purification, etc.


A basic understanding of biological chemistry, cells, cell division, genetics and ecology is assumed. Facility in using the compound light microscope is also assumed. The student unfamiliar with the aforementioned will be at a distinct disadvantage in this course. Prerequisites are one year of college biology and one year of college chemistry or divisional approval.


The list of objectives given below is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather to serve as foundation upon which to build.

Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:
A. list, classify, and contrast the main categories of microorganisms
B. draw and label the parts of a "typical" bacterial cell, giving possible functions for each part
C. contrast eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells
D. distinguish between and give examples of autotrophic and heterotrophic forms of nutrition; between lithotrophic and organotrophic sources of carbon
E. draw a typical growth curve and describe its phases
F. discuss how oxygen levels, temperature, pH, and the osmotic environment may affect microbial growth
G. contrast bacterial transduction, bacterial transformation, and bacterial conjugation
H. describe the structure and nature of nucleic acids
I. relate the terms DNA, gene, chromosomes, and mutation
J. describe protein synthesis
K. outline the operon hypothesis of microbial gene control
L. list and discuss at least six properties of enzymes
M. describe the basic principles and techniques involved in "genetic engineering" and relate at least three areas in which DNA recombinant technology may bear valuable fruit
N. list the important events of and/or the significance of the following pathways associated with microbial metabolism 1. Glycolysis
2. Krebs cycle
3. Alcoholic fermentation
4. Lactic acid fermentation
5. Electron transport system
6. Aerobic respiration
7. Anaerobic respiration
O. contrast photosynthesis in green plants with that of: 1. Cyanobacteria
2. Sulfur bacteria
P. describe the roles and associations of microorganisms in ecosystems
Q. list and discuss the principle reasons for and methods of controlling and/or eliminating microorganisms
R. provide the following for selected diseases caused by microorganisms: 1. Causative organism
2. Occurrence
3. Reservoir
4. Mode of transmission
5. Incubation period
6. Period of communicability
7. Method of control including specific treatment
S. outline and describe the human body's defensive mechanisms against infectious diseases
T. list and describe at least five examples of the uses of microorganisms in applied microbiology

Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

A. use aseptic technique in handling microorganisms
B. use standard techniques for quantitative measurement of microbial growth
C. apply standard microbiological techniques to the isolation, cultivation and identification of microorganisms
MAJOR TOPICS TO BE COVERED A. Microbial taxonomy 1. Archaebacteria
2. Cyanobacteria
3. Photo bacteria
4. Eubascteria a. gram negative
b. gram positive
5. Fungi
6. Protozoa
B. Techniques used in microbial taxonomy
C. Microbial staining techniques
D. Microbial cell structure, eukaryotic and prokaryotic
E. Microbial nutrition and cultivation
F. Microbial growth and cell division
G. Microbial metabolism: enzymes, cell energetics, cellular biosynthesis
H. Microbial genetics, genetic engineering
I. Control and elimination of microbes
J. Microbial ecology
K. Medical microbiology: pathogens, infectious diseases, immunity
L. Viruses (taxonomy, infection cycle, temperate vs. Lytic, medical significance)
M. Applied microbiology: food, dairy, industrial, pharmaceutical

The instructor may wish to include coverage of eukaryotic algae and parasitic worms.

Field trips may be taken to one or more of the following places depending upon the time available and student interests.

A. American Type Culture Collection
B. Anaerobe Lab, V.P.I. & State University
C. National Agricultural Library
D. National Institutes of Health
E. Local brewery
F. Local dairy
G. Local research and development firm
H. Local water purification plant
Revised 1/97

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