Homepage » Courses Offered » Undergraduate Studies » 4th 13B012 General Microbiology


Compulsory/Elective Code Semester Lectures Practicals Credits ECTS
Compulsory 13Β012  4th 4 Hrs/Wk 3 Hrs/Wk 6 8,0

The introduction of students in the biology of microorganisms. The course includes topics related to microbial diversity, the structure of microbial cells (prokaryotic and eukaryotic) and their metabolism, the kinetics of growth of microorganisms, microbial genetics and ecology, and an introduction to virology. A 10 x 3 hour laboratory sessions introduces the students in microbiological techniques.


Students attending the course acquire basic knowledge in the areas of a) structure and function of the prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell, b) microbial nutrition, c) microbial growth and kinetics, d) control of microbial growth, e) physicochemical factors that affect microbial growth, f) participation of microorganisms in biogeochemical cycles, g) microbial diversity and h) virology.


Microorganisms and Microbiology (4 hours): Introduction in the Biology of Microorganisms. Structure and function of microbial cells. Evolution and diversity of microorganisms. Microbial environments. Microbe-man interactions. Brief historical survey of Microbiology. The discovery of microorganisms. Pasteur disprove the spontaneous generation. Koch and infectious diseases. The rise of microbial diversity. Modern microbiology and genomics.

Microbial cell structure and function (6 hours): Structure and function of cells through optical microscopy. 3D microbial illustration. Cellular structure under the electron microscope. Morphology of Bacteria and Archaea. Cytoplasmic membrane and transport. Membrane structure and function. Bacterial and Archaea cell walls. Peptidoglycan, lipopolysaccharides (LPS) - Gram (-) outer membrane. Cell walls of Archaea. Other cell membrane structures. Bacterial movement. Eukaryotic microbial cells. Eukaryotic cell nucleus, mitochondria, chloroplasts. Important structures of eukaryotic cells

Microbial metabolism (4 hours): Cultivation of microorganisms. Cell chemistry and nutrition. Nutrient substrates and growth cultures. Enzymes and redox. Taxonomy of microorganisms. Catalysis and enzymes. Bioenergetics. Electron donors and receivers. Energy rich compounds.

Fermentation and respiration (2 hours): Glycolysis. Variety of fermentations and the choice of respiration. Breathing; electron carriers. Breathing protostimulating force. Respiration cycle of citric and glyoxylic acid. Catabolism variety.

Biosynthesis (2 hours): Sugars and polysaccharides. Amino acids and nucleotides. Fatty acids and lipids. Nitrogen fixation.

Microbial growth and control (14 hours): Bacterial cell division. Fts and MreB proteins and cell division. Peptidoglycan biosynthesis. Population growth. Microbial growth parameters. Batch and continuous flow cultures. Estimation of the microbial population. Effect of temperature on microbial growth. Classification of microorganisms by growth temperature. Microbial life at low and high temperatures. Other physical parameters that affect the microbial growth. Effect of pH, O2, and osmolarity on microbial growth. Physical methods to control microbial growth. Heat, filtration and irradiation. Chemical control of microbial growth.

Viruses and Virology (6 hours): The nature of viruses. Virus structure. Overview of the viral life cycle. Virus culture, detection and counting. Life cycles of bacteriophages. Adhesion and entry of bacteriophage T4. T4 genome and replication. Mild bacteriophages and lysigonia. Specific diversity and ecology. Overview of bacterial and animal viruses. Iosphere and viral ecology. Viral genomes and diversity. Viral genomes and evolution. Size and structure of viral genomes. Virus evolution. DNA viruses. Bacteriophages with single-stranded DNA; φΧ174 and M13. Bacteriophages of single-stranded DNA; T7 and Mu. Ancient viruses. Oncogenic DNA viruses. Viruses with RNA genomes. Positive RNA viruses. Negative animal RNAs. Double stranded RNA viruses. Viruses that use reverse transcriptase. Viral agents (Viruses and Prions).

Microbial evolution and systematic (4 hours): Origin and differentiation of life. Early earth. Photosynthesis and oxidation on earth. Endosymbiotic origin of eukaryotes. Living fossils; DNA, a tricky concept for evolutionary biology. Molecular phylogeny and the tree of life. Molecular phylogeny; deciphering molecular sequences. Microbial evolution. Evolution of microbial genomes. Microbial systematics. The concept of species in microbiology. Classification methods and systematics. Classification and nomenclature.

Nutrient cycles (10 hours): The carbon cycle. Methanogenesis. The nitrogen cycle. The circle of the sulfur. The cycles of Iron and Manganese. The cycles of phosphorus, calcium and silicon. Nutrient recycling and human activity. Mercury Transformation. Anthropogenic effects on carbon and nitrogen cycles.


1. Microbiological Media - Aseptic methods - Sterilization methods. 2. Inoculum - methods of inoculation. 3. Pure culture techniques (streak plate, pour plate, isolating a bacterial culture). 4. Estimation of the measurement parameters of microbial population. 5. Microbial growth in batch culture. 6. Effect of temperature and pH on microbial growth. 7. Examination of microbial growth - antimicrobial agents. 8. Determination of the metabolic activity of the soil microbial population - Specific phosphatase activity. 9. Soil microbiology; nitrogen cycle. 10. Food microbiology; microbial examination of raw and pasteurized milk. 11. Identification of bacteria and yeasts. 12. Identification of filamentous fungi.

  Lectures: Dimitris Hatzinikolaou, Associate Professor of Microbial Biotechnology (Coordinador) - Dr. Alexander Savvides, Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. Efstathios Katsifas, Laboratory Teaching Staff
  Practicals: Dr. Alexander Savvides, Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. Efstathios Katsifas, Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. Sotirios Amillis, Laboratory Teaching Staff
  The score in the practical examination contributes 30% of the total score and the grade in theory examination contributes for 70%. Grate ≥5 at both examinations is required.
  If you require more information, please contact the Course Coordinator, Associate Professor Dimitris Hatzinikolaou at Tel; 0030 210 727 4140 - Email: dhatzini[at]biol.uoa[dot]gr