Microbial Metabolism
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleNWI-BB090
Credits (ECTS)6
Category02 (Introductory with prior knowledge)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Science; BioWetenschappen;
PreviousNext 5
dr. S. Coolen
Other course modules lecturer
M.J. Echeveste Medrano
Other course modules lecturer
dr. R.M. de Graaf
Other course modules lecturer
dr. ing. S.C.M. Haaijer-Vroomen
Other course modules lecturer
P.A.G. ter Horst
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2022
KW1  (05/09/2022 to 06/11/2022)
Starting block
Course mode
RemarksStudents who want to follow this course as part of a premaster or minor, contact the premaster/minor student advisor
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
Course objectives and skills:
At the end of this course you will be able to:
1. Understand and distinguish different types of microbial metabolism and balance microbiologically relevant redox reactions (final qualification 1 and 2).
2. predict which redox reaction will take place in different conditions in nature, by using the redox ladder (final qualification 1 and 2).
3. describe and contrast the correct common methods used in microbiology to grow, quantify and identify microorganisms in samples from different specific locations (final qualification 1).
4. Understand phototrophy, chemolithotrophy, and (an)aerobic metabolism and the corresponding group of micro-organisms, and apply this knowledge to explain natural and man-made microbial ecosystems (final qualification 1 and 2).
5. Apply the knowledge of microbial metabolism to explain the essential processes in the biogeochemical nitrogen and carbon cycle (final qualification 1 and 2).
6. Apply the knowledge of microbial metabolism to explain why prokaryotes are important in the symbiosis with eukaryotes (final qualification 1 and 2).
7. Cooperate constructively and give positive feedback in small teams on theoretical exercises, and practical experiments (final qualification 8).
8. Independently design and execute an experiment on microbial metabolism (final qualification 3, 4, 5).
9. Compose a scientific report of one practical experiment in the format of a scientific article according to the (Medical) Biology degree guidelines, in such a way that another microbiologist will be able to understand and reproduce what you did (final qualification 6, 7, 8, 11).
The second year course Microbial Metabolism follows on from the first year course Microbiology (Q2). In the first year course, students are made familiar with the evolution and diversity of microorganisms, the structure and function of the microbial cell, general principles on microbial nutrition and growth and the role of microorganisms in human health and disease. In the second year course Microbial Metabolism, the focus will be on the large diversity in bacterial energy metabolisms and the relevance to global biogeochemical carbon and nitrogen cycles, as well as to agriculture and industrial use of microorganisms. This course will be followed by the courses Physiology of Microorganisms, (Genomics for health and environment-highly recommended but not compulsory) and Applied and Environmental Microbiology in the learning trajectory “Microbiology” of the BSc Biology.
This course will provide you with an understanding of how microorganisms shape our planet and how mankind benefits from- and makes use of the versatility of microbial energy metabolisms. They are presented in a knowledge-clip format, with a preparatory online video and quizzes to test your knowledge.
Topics are (Brock  15th/16th edition):
Ch3 Microbial metabolism 
Ch14 Metabolic diversity of microorganisms
In four tutorial sessions you will learn to apply the course material in relevant real-life scenarios. Tutorial sessions will consist of team based discussions led by the students on the tutorial material.
Practical course:
The practical part of this course is compulsory and consists of 5 sessions of 4 h during which you will perform 6 experiments. The practical course will deepen your understanding of the course material and will extend your microbiological experimental skills. You will learn what type of experiment is appropriate to answer specific questions related to microbial metabolism. The results from the experiments will be analysed in 5 Team Based Learning sessions. In addition, you will write a report on one of the experiments together with your labmate.

Teaching methods
Lectures (9 hours)
Tutorials (8 hours + 8 hours preparation)
Practical course (4 half-days/ 20 hours + 20 hours preparation/result analysis, partially in team-based learning sessions)
Report writing (8 hours)
Self study (90 hours)
Question session (2 hours)
Exam (3 hours)


Presumed foreknowledge
First year course Microbiology
Test information
Examination: Your final grade will be based on: an electronic cirrus exam (50%), the practical course (40%) and a tutorial (10%). You must obtain a 5.5 minimum for the practical course and the exam. The exam will cover the lecture content, whereas the practical course will be assessed by writing of a laboratory report, the professional learning attitude and the team-based learning sessions. The mark for the report must be a 5.5 minimum to pass the practical course.
Lectures: no mandatory attendance - lectures are presented as online knowledge clips with quizzes

Practical course: 
  1. Laboratory classes: attendance mandatory
  2. Team-based learning sessions: attendance mandatory
  1. Tutorials: no mandatory attendance, however questions for solving the tutorial assignments will only be answered during the tutorial hours
  2. Tutorial assignments: handing in of the assignments is mandatory
Q&A session: no mandatory attendance
Recommended materials
Brock - Biology of Microorganisms, 15th ed. Either ISBN: 9781784474089 or ISBN: 9781292235103
Title:Biology of Microorganisms

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

Lab course
Attendance MandatoryYes


Digital Exam
Test weight5
Test typeDigital exam with CIRRUS
OpportunitiesBlock KW1, Block KW2

practical course
Test weight4
Test typeLab course
OpportunitiesBlock KW1, Block KW2

Test weight1
OpportunitiesBlock KW1