BIOS 3004 Analytical Microbiology

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 300866

Coordinator Thomas Jeffries Opens in new window

Description The subject provides a theoretical and practical introduction to wide range of microbiological techniques that are commonly used in medical science, industrial and food microbiology, environmental science, and research. Building on a basic understanding of microbiology the subject shows how microorganisms can be isolated, identified, and enumerated using traditional microbiological methods, modern variations on traditional methods, and more recent immunological and molecular methods. The laboratory component is an integral component of the subject as the students use a variety of techniques, methods and commercial systems that are applied in microbiological laboratories, and incorporates problem solving and inquiry based exercises.

School Science

Discipline Microbiology

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 2 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Pre-requisite(s) BIOS 2022

Equivalent Subjects BIOS 3031 - Analytical Microbiology


Successful completion of 60 credit points

Assumed Knowledge

A good general knowledge of microbiology and having the technical skills needed to work safely with microorganisms.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the microbiological methods used to observe, enumerate, isolate, characterise, differentiate, tag and identify microbial populations.
  2. Discuss the importance of rapid methods in medical microbiology with reference to factors such as cost, speed of diagnosis, accuracy, skill levels and accreditation.
  3. Describe methods for characterising microbial populations in various environments.
  4. Perform a variety of analytical techniques, complying with Occupational Health and Safety guidelines, to identify, characterise and enumerate microorganisms in environmental samples and foods.
  5. Apply different analytical methods given the context, situations and/or scenarios.
  6. Work cooperatively and constructively in groups to solve problems using the scientific method.
  7. Read and interpret scientific articles in the field of analytical microbiology.
  8. Create a valid hypothesis, and design and undertake an experimental protocol to test this hypothesis derived from a scientific question.

Subject Content

1. The importance of microscopy, particularly fluorescent microscopy in analytical microbiology.
2. Physical and nutritional methods of selective enrichment of target microorganisms and the use of selective and differential media with emphasis on chromogenic media.
3. Chemical and physical methods to characterise and enumerate microorganisms.
4. The importance of biochemical analyses and computer aided identification systems to identify microorganisms.
5. Methods to determine antibiotic resistance in microorganisms.
6. The different methods of microbial identification based on immunological techniques such as ELISA, immunochromatography and immunoflourescence.
7. The application of molecular methods such as PCR, hybridisation, and NASBA, to detect, differentiate, monitor and target microorganisms quantitatively.
8. Chemical methods such as phospholipid fatty acid analysis and molecular methods such as Terminal RFLP to identify and characterise microbial populations.
9. Application of analytical microbiology in food, medical and environmental studies.


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Practical Exam 2 hours 50 Y Individual
Report 2,000 words 30 N Group/Individual
Professional Task Up to 1,000 words 20 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Willey, J. M., Sherwood, L., Woolverton, C. J. (2017). Prescott's Microbiology. Singapore: McGraw-Hill Education. (Recommended Reading)

Teaching Periods

Autumn (2024)



Subject Contact Thomas Jeffries Opens in new window

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