n.BA.BT.PrMiAn.22HS (Microbial Analytics Practical) 
Module: Microbial Analytics Practical
This information was generated on: 29 February 2024
Microbial Analytics Practical


Version: 1.0 start 01 August 2022


Study Programme Biotechnology
Regulations Applicable RPO, 29 January 2008, School of Life Sciences and Facility Management Academic Regulations, 15 Dec. 2009, Annex for the Bachelor of Biotechnology degree programme
Module Type  
X Compulsory Module    Elective Module    Optional Module
Planned Semester 4th Semester
Module Coordinator Hans-Joachim Nägele
Telephone / E-Mail +41 (0)58 934 50 41 / hans-joachim.naegele@zhaw.ch
Hans-Joachim Nägele and various lecturers
Entrance Requirements Natural Sciences 1 – 3 and Practicals 1 – 3 module groups; Environmental Biotechnology 1 module
Learning Outcomes and Competencies Students will
  • be able to explain the relevance of the preparatory steps involved an experiment.
  • be able to compare their own results with values from the literature and discuss them critically.
  • be able to work in a structured way in the laboratory and organise themselves in a team.
  • understand the bioassay used (lysis yeast-estrogen screen) and be able to explain the principle to third parties.
  • be able to analyse the oestrogenic activity in municipal wastewater along the different treatment stages of a wastewater treatment plant.
  • know how oestrogen-active substances can affect aquatic organisms and be able to explain how effectively they are eliminated in wastewater treatment plants.
  • know how to measure hydrolytic enzyme activities of different anaerobic fungal cultures and be able to calculate the specific activity related to the protein concentration.
  • be able to analyse various metabolites of anaerobic fungal cultures and to draw conclusions about their metabolism.
  • understand how to prepare anaerobic media, isolate and cultivate anaerobic fungi.
  • be able to carry out a cytotox assay and draw up a dose-response curve.
  • be able to interpret the dose-response curve and read important pharmacological parameters from it.
Module Content The module is divided into 3 blocks:
1. In the first block, metabolites as well as enzyme activities of microorganisms are analysed.
2. In the second block, the oestrogenic activity of environmental samples is quantified in a yeast-based bioassay.
3. In the third block, the effect of a microbiologically produced substance on mammalian cells is investigated.
Microorganisms (MO) are used to produce metabolic products which are relevant for both biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. In order to analyse and research these metabolic products in more detail, the MO must first be isolated and cultivated. In the first practicals block, students learn techniques to isolate and cultivate obligate anaerobic fungi. Specific enzyme activities are analysed for different anaerobic fungal strains and the results are compared with data from the literature. In addition, various metabolites are measured in order to draw conclusions about microbial metabolism.
Microorganisms can be used to investigate and quantify substances and their effects. Genetically-modified yeast cells are used to detect and quantify oestrogen-active substances in environmental samples. In the second practicals block, a yeast-based bioassay (lysis yeast-estrogen screen) is used to investigate the oestrogenic activity in wastewater along the treatment stages of a sewage treatment plant. The elimination performance of the various stages with regard to oestrogen-active substances is then calculated from these values. The results obtained are compared with values from the literature and discussed.
Microorganisms can produce various metabolites which are interesting from a pharmaceutical point of view. In the third practicals block, the effect of a microbiologically-produced substance on mammalian cells is examined. For this purpose, a dose-response curve is drawn up, relevant parameters are read off and compared with data from the literature.
Follow-up Modules Modules: Environmental Biotechnology 2, Minor in Environmental Chemistry and Environmental Biotechnology 2; Minor in Pharmaceutical Technology
Methods of Instruction  Small group lab practicals, brief theory inputs, evaluation and presentation of measurement results
Digital Resources Moodle; literature from scientific databases
Lesson Structure / Workload  
 Contact Hours 50
 Guided Self-Study 10
 Independent Self-Study 30
 Total Workload 90
Classroom Attendance Yes
Assessment Coursework 100%: The written exam is modelled according to the three practicals blocks.
Language of Instruction  German
Comments -


Course: Microbial Analytics Practical
Microbial Analytics Practical


  • No module description is available in the system for the cut-off date of 29 February 2024.