Course Title: Environmental Biotechnology

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Environmental Biotechnology

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code

Campus

Career

School

Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

BIOL2324

City Campus

Undergraduate

135H Applied Sciences

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016

BIOL2324

City Campus

Undergraduate

171H School of Science

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2017

BIOL2370

City Campus

Postgraduate

135H Applied Sciences

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2015,
Spring2016

BIOL2370

City Campus

Postgraduate

171H School of Science

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2017

Course Coordinator: A/Professor Mark Osborn

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7126

Course Coordinator Email: mark.osborn@rmit.edu.au

Course Coordinator Location: 223.1.57

Course Coordinator Availability: Email for appointment


Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

 There are no prerequisites for this course; however students will find that knowledge of biology and chemistry at VCE level will be an advantage, as will completion of courses in cell structure and function, microbiology, genetics, molecular biology and plant and animal physiology.


Course Description

The nature of this topic is such that students from a wide range of backgrounds including biological, chemical, physical, social and health sciences will all have background knowledge relevant to some aspects of the course. The topic represents a stand-alone, progressive topic leading the student through the key aspects of environmental microbiology prior to its subsequent application within environmental biotechnology.

This course firstly explores the diversity, function and ecological adaptations of microorganisms within the environment. Subsequently it explores the application of these environmental microorganisms, products and processes within the environmental biotechnology sector for the benefit of both human society and the environment. It aims to provide an understanding of the central importance of microbial life to key ecosystem processes and systems and in turn how microbiology can be applied to address the key environmental and biological challenges facing society through the integration of biology and environmental science with consideration to important legal, regulatory and society issues.


Key themes within this course include Biogeochemistry and Biodegradation, and Waste Management and Processing and Bioenergy. Underpinning the course is the importance of Microbial Diversity as an immensely rich resource for biotechnological application and the importance of molecular biology approaches that have transformed our understanding of environmental microbiology and are, in turn, now being applied for the development and/or enhancement of a range of environmental biotechnology tools and approaches, including wastewater treatment, bioremediation and bioenergy production.
 


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of microbial diversity in environmental systems, processes and biotechnology
  • Understand and explain the importance of molecular approaches in environmental microbiology and biotechnology.
  • Describe existing and emerging technologies that are important in the area of environmental biotechnology;
  • Describe the principles and techniques underpinning the application of biosciences to the environment;
  • Describe biotechnological solutions to address environmental issues including pollution, mineral resource winning, renewable energy and water recycling;
  • Analyse case-studies representative of key areas of environmental Biotechnology;
  • Undertake a range of practical approaches relevant to environmental microbiology and biotechnology and be able to record, report and discuss data
     


This course contributes to the School of Applied Sciences Program Learning Outcomes at AQF Level 7: 

  • PLO-2 Scientific knowledge 
  • PLO-3 Inquiry and Problem Solving 
  • PLO-4 Communication 
  • PLO-5 Personal and professional responsibility

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcome at AQF level 9

  • PLO 1.1 a body knowledge that includes the understanding of recent developments in both the understanding of environmental processes and the technological advances in measurement techniques, remediation processes and pollution control
  • PLO 2.4 communication and technical research skills to enable you to justify and interpret theoretical propositions, methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions to specialist and non specialist audiences
  • PLO 3.4 to plan and execute a substantial environmental research based project.


Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course are:  

  • Attendance at lectures where syllabus material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples; 
  • Completion of tutorial questions and laboratory projects designed to give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on student progress and understanding; 
  • Private study, working through the course as presented in lectures, tutorials and learning materials. 


Overview of Learning Resources

Students will be able to access course information and learning material through Blackboard (my Studies) via myRMIT. Students will be provided with details of relevant texts and literature, library resources (including appropriate journals) and freely accessible internet sites. Additional material will be provided in class. 
 


Overview of Assessment

Assessment consists of:

  • A theory exam
  • A practical report
  • Tutorial assessment