School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences

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School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences

Unit Outline

Introductory Microbiology


Semester: 1

Campus: Crawley and QE II Medical Center

Unit Coordinator: Dr Charlene Kahler

This outline is the currently available version for this unit. Detailed Information on unit content and assessment may undergo modification before the time of delivery of the unit. For the most up to date information students must consult material supplied to enrolled students by the unit co-ordinator.

All material reproduced herein has been copied in accordance with and pursuant to a statutory licence administered by Copyright Agency Limited (CAL), granted to the University of Western Australia pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).

Copying of this material by students, except for fair dealing purposes under the Copyright Act, is prohibited. For the purposes of this fair dealing exception, students should be aware that the rule allowing copying, for fair dealing purposes, of 10% of the work, or one chapter/article, applies to the original work from which the excerpt in this course material was taken, and not to the course material itself

© The University of Western Australia 2001


The study of prokaryotes (bacteriology) is important in the study of immunology, medical microbiology, genetics, food and industrial microbiology, and environmental microbiology. The functions of prokaryotes are central to the foods, pharmaceutical, and biotechnological industries, in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases of plants and animals, and in our understanding of biogeochemical processes in the biosphere. Understanding the biology of bacteria, viruses and fungi has led to some of the world’s most important advances in medicine, food science and agriculture. In addition, prokaryotic cells have been used for some of the most significant experiments ever done in the biological sciences in basic areas of research such as genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry.

This subject presents a selection of topics from the field of microbiology. The lectures describe the structural and functional characteristics of prokaryotes; ecology and physiological diversity of bacteria; growth and control of micro-organisms; genetics of bacteria; host defence against infections; bacteria and viruses as agents of disease; and applications of microbiology and biotechnology.

The purpose of Introductory Microbiology MICR2204 is to present a view of the overall scope of microbiology, thus providing the basic background to understanding advanced medical and environmental microbiology subjects offered in third year.

Broad Learning Outcomes


Assessment Activity

Students will be able to recall and integrate key knowledge and concepts about:

  • Structural and functional characteristics of prokaryotes

  • Ecology and physiological diversity of bacteria

  • Growth and control of microorganisms

  • Eukaryotic microbes: structure, function and diversity

  • Role of fungi and bacterial in soil environments

  • Microbes in aquatic environments


Theory exam

Students will acquire skills in:

  • Handling microorganisms including bacteria and fungi

  • Aseptic technique

  • Basic skills with microscopes

  • Preparation of samples for basic microscopy

  • Investigating natural environments of microbes

  • Data recording and analysis

Laboratory experiments

Students will clearly communicate in writing the results of laboratory work using correct scientific style

Lab work book

Advisable Prior Study

All students

12pts of 1st year biology is essential and MUST include the unit Molecular Biology of the Cell (SCIE1106). In addition, students must complete TEE chemistry or attend 6 pts of Chemistry.

Microbiology Majors

Those students intending to Major in Microbiology are reminded that they should have completed 12pts of first year Biology and 12 pts of first year chemistry.

Information from Science Courses 2006: A guide for enrolling students.

One pair from

BIOL1130 Core Concepts in Biology

+ BIOL1131 Plant & Animal Biology

ANHB1101 Human Biology 1

+ ANHB1102 Human Biology II

And one pair from

CHEM1101 Inorganic & Physical chemistry

+ CHEM1102 Organic Chemistry

CHEM1103 Biological Organic Chemistry

+ CHEM1104 Biolog. Inorganic & Phys Chem

CHEM1105 Introductory Chemistry

+ CHEM1106 Biological Chemistry

Teaching staff are aware that a significant number of students may not have all of the recommended background. As a consequence, we attempt to make our approach in lectures, labs and tutorials as inclusive as possible. Nevertheless, students who have not taken the recommended first year units, especially Molecular Biology of the Cell, are strongly advised to do some preparatory reading in order to get the most out of the course, and to increase their likelihood of passing with a strong mark. We recommend readingMolecular Biology of the Cell, Fourth Editionby Bruce Alberts, Alexander Johnson, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts, Peter Walter.

Technical Requirements

Laboratory Notebook

Results of experiments are to be entered into worksheets provided for each experiment. You must record everything during laboratory classes. If you require an extra notebook, it should have a hard cover, with pages that are properly bound (a Science Exercise Book with graph paper/ruled pages interleaved is very suitable).


You should have a pocket calculator available for use in the laboratory; it should have the means for determining the log of a number.

Software Requirements


Contact Details

Unit web site (may include Web CT URL):

Name of Unit coordinator: Dr Charlene Kahler


Phone: 9346 2058

Fax: 9346 4519

Consultation hours: By appointment

Unit Structure Summary


Two 1-hour lectures per week

Practical and/or Laboratory Sessions

The laboratory component comprises practical sessions with experiments. Attendance at all practical sessions is compulsory. A medical certificate is required in the event of non-attendance.

Students are expected to familiarise themselves with the laboratory experiments before each day's practical session. Demonstrators will demonstrate techniques and coordinate the procedures used each day. They will answer questions related to the practical experiments.

Results of experiments are to be entered into worksheets provided for each experiment. Questions on worksheets are to be answered by students in the practical class or after reading lecture notes, reference texts or the practical demonstrations where appropriate. The worksheets will test your knowledge of completed practicals and will not be marked. However, without completed worksheets you will have difficulty answering questions in the practical exam.


For details of times and venues of all teaching sessions please consult the university timetable at

Lecture Topics


Introduction to Microbiology


Range of Microorganisms


Prokaryotic structure and function 1


Prokaryotic structure and function 2


Microbial nutrition, media and cultivation


Growth and measurement of bacterial growth


Microbial death, sterilization by physical agents


Use of chemical agents in control


Action of antimicrobial agents

Lecture Topics continued


Bacterial classification and taxonomy


Diversity of Gram positive bacteria




Diversity of Gram negative bacteria


Eukaryote structure and function


Characteristics and diversity of fungi


Microbial symbioses


Microbes in terrestrial environments


Microbes in agriculture and animal production


Characteristics and diversity of microalgae


Characteristics and diversity of protozoa


Microbes in aquatic environments


Applied microbiology


General property of viruses


Viruses of plants and animals


The immune response



References, Resources and Reading Materials

Recommended Text

Prescott, L.M., J.P. Harley and D.A. Klein. Microbiology, 6th ed. McGraw Hill, Publishers, 2005.

Companion Text

Tortora, G. J., B. R. Funke, and C.E. Case. Microbiology: An introduction, 8th ed. Addison Wesley Longman Inc, Publishers, 2004.

The companion text book is highly recommended for those who intend to continue onto Second Semester MICR2205 ((General & Applied Microbiology) and is readily available second hand.

All lecturers supply lecture handouts

The unit manual, supplied to all students who enrol in the unit, contains detailed laboratory notes, worksheets, assignment instructions, and other supporting material.

References, Resources and Reading Materials continued

Supportive Material

There are dozens of general microbiology texts currently in print. The best and most widely adopted texts are among the library holdings. Check the Microbiology section in the Medical & Dental or Biological Sciences Libraries. The following list of references is created specifically for Introductory Microbiology 204 and General & Applied Microbiology 205 and for students majoring in microbiology. In general, these texts refer to microbiology topics in much greater detail than lecture presentations, and can be used to supplement your interest or knowledge.

1. Balows, A., H.G. Truper, M. Dworkin, W. Harder, and K.-H. Schleifer (eds.). The Prokaryotes, 2nd ed. Springer-Verlag. 1992. Published in four volumes. The most complete reference on the characteristics of prokaryotes. Includes procedures for the selective isolation and identification of virtually all known prokaryotes. [589.9 1992PRO v1 to v4. MedDentL]

2. Madigan, M.T., J.M. Martinko and J. Parker. Brock Biology of Microorganisms, 8th ed. Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1997. Earlier editions included the author T.D. Brock who is an expert in microbial ecology and the history of microbiology. The text is excellent in environmental aspects of microbiology. [Q567. 1994BIO BiolSciL is the call number of the 7th ed.]

3. Davis, B.D., R. Dulbecco, H.N. Eisen, and H.S. Ginsberg. Microbiology, 4th ed. J.B. Lippincott Co. 1990. A standard medical school textbook with detailed coverage of medically-important microorganisms, immunology, and virology. [576. 1990MIC MedDentL]

4. Snyder, L. and W Champness. Molecular Genetics of Bacteria. 2nd ed. American Society for Microbiology Press. 2002. The best description of the genetics of bacteria and phages. [Q572.8293 1997MOl MedDentL is the call number of the first ed.]

5. Lederberg, J. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Microbiology. Academic Press. 2000. A four-volume, 2100-page treatise on all aspects of microbiology edited by a Nobel laureate in microbiology. It includes articles on microorganisms, their habitats, metabolism, activities in nature, and human significance. [R579.03 2000ENC v1 to v4 MedDentL]

6. Neidhardt, F.C., J.L. Ingraham, and M. Schaechter. Physiology of the Bacterial Cell - A Molecular Approach. Sinauer Associates, Inc. 1990. Bacterial physiology with an emphasis on molecular aspects of cell structure, function, growth and genetics. A standard reference for General Microbiology 301 (Bacterial Physiology). [589.901 1990PHY MedDentL & BiolSciL]

7. Lengeler, J.W., G. Drews and H.G. Schlegel, Biology of the Prokaryotes, Blackwell Science. 1999. Excellent overview of general microbiology with an emphasis on the biochemical and environmental aspects of bacteriology. Schlegel has written several editions of a text “General Microbiology” which has a similar emphasis. [579.3 1999BIOL MedDentL & BiolSciL]

8. Salyers, A.A., and D.D. Whitt. Bacterial Pathogenesis: A Molecular Approach. 2nd ed. American Society for Microbiology Press. 2002. The application of molecular techniques to the study of bacterial host-parasite relationships. Integrates material from pathogenic microbiology, molecular biology, immunology and human physiology to explain the molecular basis of bacterial pathogenesis. [616.014 2002BAC MedDentL]

9. Stanier, R.Y., J.L. Ingraham, M.L. Wheelis, and P.R Painter. The Microbial World, 5th ed. Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1986. Although slightly dated, comprehensive coverage of the structure, function, physiology and ecology of diverse groups of bacteria is the hallmark of this classic textbook.

References, Resources and Reading Materials continued

Supportive Material

10. Watson, J.D., N.H. Hopkins, J.W. Roberts, J.A. Steitz and A.M. Weiner. Molecular Biology of the Gene, 4th ed. Benjamin/Cummings. 1987. Specializes in the molecular biology and chemistry of cells, including nucleic acid structure and function, bacterial genetics, transcription and translation and the regulation of gene expression, and replication of animal viruses. [Q574.87328 1987MOL/2 MedDentL and BiolSciL]

11. Black, J.G. Microbiology: Principles and Explorations. 5th ed. John Wiley and Sons Inc 2002. An introductory text which is oriented to medical aspects of Microbiology. [Q616.01 2002MIC BiolSciL]

12. Collier, L., A. Balows and M. Sussman (eds). Topley & Wilsons Microbiology and Microbial Infections. 9th ed. Arnold. 1998. Published in five volumes and an index. These volumes are the “bible” in the field of human infectious agents and medical microbiology. [616.01 1998TOP v1 to v6 MedDentL]

Unit Web Site

All enrolled students have access to the unit WebCT site ( This site will be used for notices, posting of supplementary course materials, email and discussion. It is strongly recommended that you log onto this site on a daily basis. The website should be used for all remote communication to the unit co-ordinator. Students are encouraged to pose questions about course content on the discussion forum of the site so that all class members can view and contribute to the discussion.

Assessment Details

Assessed Work

% Mark


Practical examination (1&1/2 hours)


Final practical session

Multiple choice questions


Week before Mid-semester break

Final written examination (2 hours)


End of semester exam period


The University of Western Australia takes very seriously the matter of academic misconduct by students and has policies in place that define misconduct (including plagiarism) and the penalties that apply. The consequences for misconduct can be severe, including exclusion from the university.

All students are expected to make themselves aware of the definitions and policies relating to academic misconduct, found at the websites below, and with any additional requirements or stipulations that may be provided by individual unit co-ordinators.

When you obtain authority to log in to the unit website, you will se an online module on academic conduct which you are strongly advised to complete in your own time.


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