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MB 351: General Microbiology

Instructors: Markéta Marečková / Luděk Žůrek
Credits: 3
GEP: Natural Sciences

*Prerequisite: One Biology course [BIO 181, BIO 183, ZO 150 or ZO 160] and one Organic Chemistry course [CH 221 or CH 220]

Course Description

Rigorous introduction to basic microbiology principles for students in biological and agricultural sciences and for all students planning to take further courses in microbiology.

The basic knowledge of biology will be extended to microbes. Three domains of life will be described from the phylogenetic and morphological perspectives to understand how they are defined and share functions in nature. The central dogma of molecular biology will be presented as a basis for developing modern molecular tools. Microbial life in communities and environmental factors determining their structure in major biomes, soil, water, plant, and animal bodies will be recognized. Microbes and their activities will also be described as harmful to disease and beneficial in medicine, industry, and agriculture products. Attention will be paid to discussing how a scientific hypothesis can be stated, supported using literature and proved by experiments.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge. Students will extend and practice their knowledge of biology in new situations related to microbial life:

  • To discriminate between phylogeny and taxonomy in microorganisms. To know what are the methods used in microorganism determination. What the problems are and how to resolve them in the future.
  • Central dogma. To realize the unity of life and recognize the importance of information molecules in molecular methods.
  • Diversity of microbial metabolism. To connect different microbial metabolisms with responsible taxa, location in nature and function in respective nutrient cycling. To identify electron donors, acceptors, carbon sources, and respiration types for different microbial guilds.
  • Secondary metabolites: why they are not secondary, their roles in microbial communities and populations and their role in human life.

2. Science. Students will be encouraged to work in groups, particularly in the laboratory, to demonstrate that science is teamwork. One small group (3-4) will suggest discussion subjects and interpretation of results and develop one experiment for the laboratory to learn how to select the most promising subjects and approaches to resolve them.

  • Data versus models – the difference and how to understand scientific results.
  • To find relevant information and evaluate the quality of resources.
  • To determine the proper scale and method for a microbial experiment.