Microbial biotechnology

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
BIO/18 BIO/19
Learning objectives
The course aims at building a basic knowledge of the main technologies and processes in production of heterologous proteins and of molecules of high added value in microbial systems, in particular for industrial use. Another main goal is providing specific knowledge on the utilization of expression vectors, on metabolic engineering and on genetic improvement of microrganisms of industrial use. In the course, it will also be discussed the biology of antibiotic-producing microrganisms such as Actynomycetes, and the biochemistry and molecular biology aspects of antibiotic synthesis. Finally, the course will tackle the main environmental applications of microbial biotechnology, namely, use of biosensors and bioremediation processes.
Expected learning outcomes
With this course, the student will acquire detailed knowledge and understanding of the basic biotechnological applications involving microorganisms, in particular in an industrial context.
The student will be able to use advanced methods for cloning and expression of heterologous genes in Escherichia coli for industrial purposes.
Critical and judgmental skills, and communicating what has been learned, are developed above all with laboratory activities and the discussion in class of the results obtained.
The individual contribution of the student in the laboratory activities and in the specific cases analyzed in class will be fundamental for the acquisition of a critical spirit and in the ability to analyze and solve problems.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
With regard to online vs. conventional lectures, more information will be made available over the next months, based on the public health situation in Italy and in the Milan area.
Course syllabus
Part 1. Production of heterologous proteins in prokaryotes, with particular focus on Escherichia coli as model organism. Genetic systems and strategies for cloning and optimization of protein expression. Biosensors and environmental biotechnologies making use of microrganisms. Strategies for the identification of novel antibiotics from producing microrganisms. Metabolic Engineering as a tool for the study and for the improvement of industrial processes. Bioconversions processes, by wild type and genetically modified organisms for production of industrial relevant products.
Part 2. Main microrganisms of biotechnological interest and their applications: Bacillus, Lactobacilli, Saccharomyces eand other yeasts, filamentous fungi. Production of antibiotics and other natural products with biological activity in Actinomycetes. Basic concepts in vaccinology. Basic concepts of environmental biotechnology: utilization of microrganisms as biosensors for polluting compounds.
Prerequisites for admission
Good basic knowledge of general microbiology, microbial genetics and molecular biology.
Teaching methods
Frontal lectures (5 ECDS)
Laboratory classes (1 ECDS)
Discussion of an example of the final exam
Teaching Resources
Text book: Biotecnologie microbiche (Ed. by G. Marino and S. Donadio)- in Italian
Lecture presentations are available on the Ariel website
Assessment methods and Criteria
Written exam. Two open questions: one question aimed at testing the knowledge of the subjects discussed in the lectures, another question aimed at testing the ability to apply the methodologies of eterologous protein production in Escherichia coli, as discussed both in Part 1 of the lectures and in the laboratory activities.
BIO/18 - GENETICS - University credits: 0
BIO/19 - MICROBIOLOGY - University credits: 0
Single bench laboratory practical: 16 hours
Lessons: 40 hours
Educational website(s)
Thursdays 15.30-16.30
Via Celoria 26, Scientific buildings, 4th floor, Tower "B"
Contact for an appointment