2 x 50-minute lectures weekly
1 x 50-minute tutorial fortnightly
3 x 3-hour laboratories per semester
1 of BIOL2771, BIOL2772, BIOL2701, BIOL2702, BIOL2722
Enrolment not permitted
BTEC9012 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
This topic assumes second year level molecular biology, biochemistry, microbiology and genetics, and an understanding of the commercial, legal and social context within which biotechnology operates.
Topic description
Environmental Biotechnology is about the monitoring and maintenance of the environment and the sustainability of environmental industries. It aims to provide an understanding of the environmental and biological challenges facing society through the integration of biology with legal, regulatory and social issues. There are three themes running through the Environmental Biotechnology topic: Waste Management, Resource Winning and Bioenergy. Underpinning the topic is microbial diversity. The topic explores microbial diversity with emphasis on adaptations to extreme environments, and considers several examples of important environmental biotechnological processes, including wastewater treatment, landfilling, petroleum recovery and bioremediation, bioenergy production and the recovery of metals. The nature of this topic is such that students from a wide range of backgrounds including biological, chemical, physical, social and health sciences, will all have background knowledge in aspects of the course. The topic represents a stand alone, progressive topic which leads the student through the key aspects of environmental biotechnologies.
Educational aims
The aims of this topic are to:

  • Convey the breadth of interacting disciplines that comprise Environmental Biotechnology

  • Describe in-depth examples and illustrative case-studies representative of key areas of Environmental Biotechnology

  • Explain how core scientific concepts and practical techniques are applied in Environmental Biotechnology

  • Develop problem-solving and team work skills that incorporate culturally inclusive practices, especially as regards Indigenous groups and other stakeholders

  • Develop skills in information retrieval and critical reading of original literature

Expected learning outcomes
At the completion of the topic, students are expected to be able to:

  • Transfer and apply core concepts drawn from biology, molecular biology, microbiology, chemistry and environmental sciences to develop innovative solutions to address environmental issues including pollution, environmental monitoring, renewable energy and carbon reduction and sequestration and water recycling

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of existing and emerging technologies that are important in the areas of environmental biotechnology

  • Synthesise information and communicate effectively, succinctly and sensitively with the scientific community, clients, the broad public and particular cultural and Indigenous communities about environmental biotechnology issues

  • Demonstrate knowledge of specific examples of how integrated science can be used to resolve environmental problems.