Core Module Information
Module title: Microbial Biotechnology

SCQF level: 10:
SCQF credit value: 40.00
ECTS credit value: 20

Module code: MIC10106
Module leader: Halina Vaughan
School School of Applied Sciences
Subject area group: LIFE SCIENCES

Level 9 Microbiology/ Molecular Biology modules

Description of module content:

In this module, you will work collaboratively to develop a biotechnological process for the production of a commercially valuable compound/microorganism such as an antibiotic, an industrial enzyme or single-cell-protein for food. This will be supported by student-centred workshops and practical activities, which will provide opportunities for you to integrate your theoretical and practical knowledge of microbiology with the graduate/employability skills essential for either an industry- or research-based career.
Biotechnology is relevant in many aspects of our lives. For example, it plays a key role in developing products and technologies to combat disease, reducing our environmental footprint, helping to feed the global population and making industrial processes safer, cleaner and more efficient. Biotechnological approaches have become even more important with the increased emphasis on sustainability and the resultant interest in replacing unsustainable chemical processes and/or commodities with biologically-mediated or -derived ones. You will learn about the development, design and operation of such microbial biotechnologies and develop an understanding of the microbial growth kinetics and bioprocessing involved. We will also examine the ways in which the productivity, efficiency and yield of bioprocesses are optimised. The various stages in the development of microbially-mediated biotechnologies, from bioprospecting for useful microorganisms, to the research and development phase and industrial-scale application, will be explored. Important aspects such as entrepreneurship, regulation, ethics, sustainability, quality control and good manufacturing practice (GMP) may also be considered.

Learning Outcomes for module:

LO1: Demonstrate competence in microbiological practical skills; including appropriate experimental design, proficient performance of laboratory work, optimisation and trouble-shooting of a technique/experiment, and accurate recording of data.
LO2: Plan, execute and critically evaluate a microbial bioprocess to synthesise a bioproduct (for example, an antibiotic, enzyme or biosurfactant).
LO3: Relate microbial growth kinetics and fermentation technology to the design, optimisation and operation of bioprocesses and the nature of the biological entity/entities involved.
LO4: Identify the key stages in a bioprocess and critically reflect on relevant quality control issues.
LO5: Critically evaluate a microbial biotechnology with reference to its commercial viability (scale-up), ethical implications and regulatory considerations.

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2022/3, Trimester 1, FACE-TO-FACE, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: SIGHTHILL
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Halina Vaughan
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
The module will be delivered face-to-face in both classroom and laboratory settings. You will be expected to undertake individual and group-based guided independent study with learning materials provided on Moodle. There will be a strong emphasis on the link between the fundamental theory of microbial growth kinetics and fermentation, and the application of this knowledge in the development, design and operation of microbial biotechnologies across a diverse range of industries/sectors (LOs 3, 4, and 5). You will work through theoretical concepts in your independent study time and attend problem solving workshops where these concepts will be explored and applied to analyse datasets, including your own (LOs 1, 2, and 3). You will also apply this knowledge in a practical context through a series of structured group-based laboratory activities relating to the key stages in the development of a biotechnology (LOs 1 and 2). This approach will enhance key employability skills such as teamwork, problem-solving and critical evaluation, and integrate them with scientific skills.

Formative Assessment:
You will undertake several formative exercises, which will allow you to track your progress and work towards achieving the learning outcomes of the module in the summative assessments. Guidance and feedback on experimental design, practical skills, and graduate attributes such as time management and teamwork as well as data recording will be provided by staff during the workshops and laboratory classes (LO 1). You will also have an opportunity to work in teams to troubleshoot a relevant aspect of the bioprocess on which you are working in order to solve a technical issue and/or optimise the operating conditions. This will take the form of a student led problem-solving workshop in which a variety of tools including experimental data will be provided to complete the task (LOs 1 and 2). Problem solving exercises: Tutorial exercises will be available on Moodle, and will primarily be self-assessed with additional feedback provided by tutors in a troubleshooting workshop.
test. These are designed to develop your understanding of theoretical principles in fermentation kinetics and how they may be applied to data to analyse a bioprocess (LO 3).
Laboratory report: You will analyse and present data obtained from laboratory experiments to produce an interim presentation which identifies and outlines the optimal bioprocess and key considerations such as regulatory requirements and quality assurance testing, depending on the nature of the bioprocess and/or products. This will be completed in week 11 and will be peer-evaluated and will also receive feedback from tutors. This work along with the feedback provided will form a sound basis from which to complete the full Technical Report for summative assessment (LOs 2, 3 and 4).
Critical Review: Class discussions will help you to select the topic of your review, and an opportunity to receive feedback on a draft will be provided prior to final submission (LO 5).

Summative Assessment:
Component 1 - Element 1: Experimental Design and Practical Skills Assessment (LO 1 /weighted 20 %):
You will work in teams to design and perform an experiment in the laboratory sessions. Assessment
criteria will include competence in performing laboratory work, ability to optimise/troubleshoot methods, and accurate recording of data.
Component 1 - Element 2: Laboratory Report (LOs 1, 2, 3 & 4 / weighted 50%): You will produce a technical report detailing the design and operation of an optimised bioprocess for the production of a commercially important compound. This report will include findings from practical activities and problem solving exercises, with in-depth data analysis and interpretation, and critical evaluation of methods and results. You will also be expected to include other pertinent considerations such as regulatory requirements, ethical approval, and quality assurance depending on the nature of the bioprocess. This assessment will also ensure that you know and understand the principles of microbial growth kinetics, and are able to apply them.

Component 2:
Report (LO 5 / weighted 30%): Short critical review of the use/application of molecular tools and technology in a specific biotechnology/bioprocess.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Practical classes and workshops 35
Face To Face Supervised time in studio/workshop 35
Independent Learning Guided independent study 330
Total Study Hours400
Expected Total Study Hours for Module400

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Practical Skills Assessment 20 1 6 , WORDS= 1000
Laboratory report 50 1, 2, 3 and 4 12 , WORDS= 4000
Report 30 5 14/15 , WORDS= 2000
Component 1 subtotal: 70
Component 2 subtotal: 30
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
MIC10106: Microbial Biotechnology