C E 479
Environmental Microbiology for Engineers (3) Intro microbiology for engineers; microbe structure, function, and diversity; environmental ecosystems; diagnostic labs.
C E 479 Environmental Microbiology for Engineers (3)
C E 479 Environmental Microbiology for Engineers is a senior/graduate-level course comprised of three main sections: (1) the fundamentals of microbial structure, function, nutrition, and growth for students with no prior formal instruction in microbiology; (2) microbial diversity and ecology; and (3) the application of these fundamental microbial principles to environmental systems. In the fundamentals section, the course covers microbial nomenclature, macromolecules, cell biology, energetics, growth, and genetic regulation. This is illustrated with calculations of thermodynamic constraints in microbially catalyzed reactions, the calculation of efficiencies based on energy conservation from common pathways, and the connection of these efficiencies to microbial growth in a chemostat. Building on these fundamental concepts of metabolic potential and conserving energy and acquiring reducing equivalents from redox reactions, the second section covers the reactions and energetics of the primary microbial functional diversity such as phototrophy, lithotrophy, autotrophy, anaerobic respirations, and fermentations. It also introduces modern molecular biology techniques for studying microbial systems, and pulls the concepts of functional diversity together by illustration with the major nutrient cycles, including discussions of environments in which each reaction might be encountered. Finally, the last section applies these ecological principles to several specific engineered environments of interest. Homework assignments throughout the semester involve questions about the methods, findings, or applications of recent articles that highlight the recently covered material, giving the students experience in the critical evaluation of primary literature and demonstrating the relevance of the material to environmental microbiology research and application. Complementing the progression of the lectures are eight instructional laboratories that provide hands-on application of diagnostic microbiological techniques to the characterization of environmental enrichment cultures and pure cultures. For example, a microscopy lab immediately follows the lecture material on cell biology, an enrichment experiment follows the material on nutrition, an enumeration experiment follows the section on microbial growth, etc. The final seven weeks of the laboratory period are devoted to group projects, in which students apply the techniques the have learned as appropriate to answer specific short-term research hypotheses. The final period is devoted to group presentations of their projects.
General Education: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2011
Prerequisite: CHEM 111, C E 370
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.