The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


This course demonstrates how biotechnology can be applied in the field of environmental research and to find solution and management strategies for environmental contamination problems in water, sediment, soil and air.

Biotechnology is widely used in the environmental sector for creating biosensors for sensing pollutants in the environment, for monitoring natural attenuation and also for developing superbugs for bioremediation.

This course introduces the students to how biotechnological tools can be used to study environmental assessment, monitoring and remediation.

The course is divided into lectures, laboratory experiments and assignments. The course will facilitate understanding of both environmental microbiology and biotechnology.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

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

1. Understand the advances in environmental applications of microorganisms including GMOs and biosensors.

2. Demonstrate skills in laboratory and theoretical aspects of environmental biology.

3. Demonstrate knowledge about the application of biotechnology or environmental risk assessment and remediation.

4. Demonstrate the ability to use various instruments used in microbial biotechnology, their operating principles and application.

5. Show awareness of bioethics and policies.


Part A. Microbial biochemistry

  1. Soil, air and water microbiology
  2. Microbial physiology and biochemistry
  3. Molecular microbiology

Part B. Biotechnology for environmental applications

  1. Application of biotechnology in bioremediation of soil and water.
  2. Biological aspects of environmental nanotechnology.
  3. Genetically modified organisms for environmental application.

Part C. Waste to energy

  1. Biomass to bio methane.
  2. Microbial fuel cells for remediation and energy production.

Part D. Bioethics

  1. Ethics in environmental application of living organisms.
  2. Policies in environmental biotechnology.

Assumed knowledge

A bachelor degree in science, mathematics or engineering or equivalent.

Assessment items

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case Studies

Essay: Essays

Report: Laboratory Report

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Field Study: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory fieldwork and laboratory induction.

Contact hours


Field Study

Face to Face Off Campus 4 hour(s) per Term Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 4 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 5 Weeks