Introduction to Microbiology

6 ECTS / Semester / Português

Objectives and competences

Pedagogical Objectives:

Understand the impact of microorganisms on human activity
Using the optical microscope correctly
Perform various basic microbiology techniques
Compile and organize observations made in laboratory work and present them in written reports
Conduct bibliographic research in scientific databases
Promote reflection and critical analysis of theoretical and methodological issues
Develop communication techniques

Expected Results:

Students are expected to correctly perform basic microbiology techniques and interpret the results obtained. Students are expected to be able to independently carry out bibliographic research in scientific databases. Students are expected to have oral and written communication skills of experimental results and self-learning.


Teaching Methodologies

The approach to the syllabus is carried out in theoretical, laboratory and tutorial classes. Theoretical classes aim to introduce the fundamental concepts to be developed in laboratory and tutorial classes.



 Theoretical classes:

Why study microbiology?
Brief presentation of the impact of microorganisms on human activity:
beneficial aspects

  • In agriculture (fertilizers, biological control, energy production)
  • In food production (fermented foods, ingredients)
  • In protecting the environment (waste treatment, pesticide degradation)
  • In the biochemical industry (antibiotics, enzymes, organic acids)
  • In medicine (vaccines, antibiotics)

harmful aspects

  • Causers of diseases in humans, animals and plants
  • Food degradation
  • Degradation of materials: pipes, wood

Culture and isolation of microorganisms
Different types of culture media and their functionalities
Microorganism enumeration techniques
Isolation of microorganisms
The importance of obtaining pure cultures
Preservation of microbial cultures

Practical Laboratory Classes:

Good laboratory practices; Classification of laboratories / Groups of organisms, Waste disposal
Paths of propagation of microorganisms
Preparation of samples for isolation/counting of microorganisms
Isolation of microorganisms
Biomass quantification (plate count: scattering, incorporation and droplet techniques)
Biomass quantification (turbidimetry, Neubauer chamber count)
Microscopy: Observation techniques (with and without staining) under an optical microscope and observation of different types of organisms
Preliminary tests on microbial identification

Tutorial Guidance:

Research and guided literary review of a relevant topic within the scope of the curricular unit (a specific application of Microbiology to a certain area: food, environmental or clinical). Preparation of a text in the form of a scientific article and oral presentation and discussion of the topic.


Assistant Professor
Freni K. Tavaria has a degree in Biology (Texas A&M University, USA) and a PhD in Food Science and Engineering (Escola Superior de Biotecnologia - ESB). She…