Microbiology for Environmental Engineering*

Module aims

  • To provide an introduction to microbiology relevant to environmental engineering and assumes little prior knowledge of the subject.
  • To discuss fundamental aspects of microorganisms and microbial metabolism, and the behaviour and characteristics of the major microbial groups: bacteria, fungi, protozoa, algae, viruses, and metazoan helminths and their relevance to environmental engineering are described.
  • To consider applied examples of environmental microbiology, including: environmental nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) transformations and processes, environmental pathogens and quantitative microbial risk assessment, biological wastewater treatment, and microbiological treatment of solid organic wastes and sludges.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this course unit, students will be able to: 

  • Understand the fundamental principles of microbial growth and development processes and how they are influenced by environmental factors in relation to environmental engineering systems.
  • Appreciate the role, contribution and significance of different microbial groups and how they may be managed for environmental engineering purposes.
  • Identify the critical pathways and mechanisms of environmental pathogen transmission and how they may be controlled and managed to reduce water related infectious disease.
  • Consider the microbiological principles of biological wastewater, solid organic waste and sludge treatment in the engineering of these major processes.

Module syllabus

  • This module provides an introduction to understanding the microbiological fundamentals and applications required by environmental engineers.
  • The basics of life processes, cells, metabolism, growth and reproduction are considered in the context of environmental engineering systems.
  • The individual microbial groups are introduced and their characteristics and behaviour are discussed in the context of their role in environmental engineering systems.
  • Specific attention is given to nutrient transformation processes and the scientific management and control of environmental pathogens.
  • Finally, the module considers the fundamental microbiological principles applied in wastewater and biodegradable waste treatment processes.  

No.

Topic

Staff

01

Introduction and general principles of biology (cells, nutrition and metabolism)

SRS

02

Bacteria

SRS

03

Fungi and viruses

SRS

04

Protozoa and algae

SRS

05

Metazoan worms

SRS

06

Environmental pathogens

SRS

07

Nutrient transformations

SRS

08

Biological wastewater treatment

SRS

09

Biological treatment of organic solid wastes and sludge

SRS

Teaching methods

The course is delivered in the Autumn Term as a suite of nine two-hour lectures.

Assessments

Assessment of the module is by a combination of examination and coursework.

Reading list

Core

Supplementary

Module leaders

Professor Stephen Smith