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University Bulletin

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Microbiology (MICRB)

MICRB 201 Introductory Microbiology (3) Elementary principles of microbial and viral structure, reproduction, genetics and physiology; relationship to food, water, soil, industrial and disease processes.

MICRB 201 Introductory Microbiology (3)

MICRB 201, Introductory Microbiology, is a survey course that touches on the full range of topics generally considered to fall within the scope of microbiology. After a short overview of the origins of microbiology and the ways in which forms of life too small to be seen with the naked eye can be studied, the course launches into the following basic topics:
1) structure and function of the bacterial cell as compared with plant and animal cells
2) care, feeding, and controlling the growth of bacteria
3) how bacteria acquire and use energy
4) how energy and nutrients are used to make cell components and carry out life processes
5) how bacteria organize, replicate and control the expression of genetic information
6) how viruses differ organizationally and reproductively from bacteria, and finally
7) how bacteria are classified and why various classification schemes are important

The remainder of the course is concerned with specific roles bacteria and viruses play in nature. Issues addressed include:
1) role of bacteria in the cycling of elements in the terrestrial environment
2) importance of bacteria in aquatic environments, including the safety of drinking water and treatment of waste water
3) the role of bacteria and viruses in human health and disease
Bacteria existed long before higher life forms, so animals, including humans, evolved means to protect themselves from harmful bacteria while forming relationships with bacteria that are beneficial. These harmful and beneficial relationships are intimately connected to immunology, a field that has long been included in the study of microbiology. The study of disease-causing microbes includes the topics of how these organisms are spread and how they can be controlled using anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents. Selected diseases are used to explain the various mechanisms by which microbes are able to cause illness.

Finally, the course also covers the role microorganisms play in the spoilage of foods and, more importantly, the myriad ways in which bacteria, yeast and fungi are used to manufacture such popular foods as breads, cheeses, wines, beers and many other fermented food and dairy products. At some point in the course, there is discussion of how microbes are used in the rapidly-expanding area of biotechnology. Bacteria have, by far, the greatest genetic diversity of all living things, so their potential for yielding products of benefit to agriculture and humankind is enormous. This topic also treats the controversial issues connected with biotechnology, including ethical, theoretical and practical issues that are or will eventually need to be addressed by society.


General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2007
Prerequisite: CHEM 110

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.