Microbiological Biotechnology

Head of the branch Prof. Levon Markosyan (Scientific and Production Center “Armbiotechnology” NAS of Armenia)

We focus on the impact on environmental, agri-food and clinical settings of physiology, antimicrobial resistance, development, evolution, genetics and molecular ecology of biofilms, microbiome communities and infectious prions, as well as life science instrumentation and innovation. 

Core Courses in Biotechnology (15 credits)
1. Micro-organisms as the main objects of biotechnology (2 credits)

Microbial world, its biodiversity, ecology and basic metabolism. Characteristics of different groups of micro-organisms. Advantages for the use of micro-organisms in biotechnology. Substrates for microbiological productions. Main branches of microbiological industry.

2. Microbial population: properties, variability and preservation (2 credits)

  • Microbial growth, variability and physiology of nutrition.
  • Microbial metabolism and biosynthetic patterns.
  • Maintenance, conservation and reproduction of microbial culture, lyophilization, drying and conservation in liquid nitrogen. Peculiarities of the maintenance and conservation of various groups of micro-organisms. Culture collections and Databases.

3. Recombinant DNA technology (2 credits)

Biotechnology tools and techniques: restriction enzymes, vectors, method for inserting foreign DNA into cells. Gene libraries. Selection of clone. Making a gene product. Applications of gene engineering in medical therapy, basic research and industry. Safety issues and the ethics of gene engineering.

4. Cellular engineering (1 credit)

Isolated tissue and cell cultures of plants and animals. Peculiarities of callus cultures. Spheroplasts and protoplasts. Fusion of protoplasts and somatic hybridisation. Hybridom technology, obtaining of monoclonal antibodies.

5. Process-engineering in biotechnology (2 credits)

Physiology of nutrition as a background for cultivation of micro-organisms. Extremophilic forms. Regulation of growth and biosynthetic processes. Scaling-up and optimization of fermentation. Certification of products. The use of immobilized microbial cells and enzymes for production of amino acids, antibiotics, hormones, alcohols, etc.

6. Biotechnological productions (2 credits)

Microbial biomass, single-cell protein. Production of amino acids, vitamins, hormones, organic acids, antibiotics, enzymes. Microbial pesticides and fertilisers. Production of fuels. Bacterial leaching of metals.

7. Biocatalysis and biotransformation (2 credits)

  • Regulation of enzyme synthesis. Immobilized cells and enzymes, their properties and uses. Membrane technology  and its application for immobilized systems.
  • Characteristics of industrially used microbial transformations for production of food, feed and biologically active substances.
  • The use of immobilised microbial cells and enzymes for production of amino acids, antibiotics, hormones, alcohols, etc.

8. Biotechnology and environment protection (2 credits)

  • Microbial deterioration of synthetic polymers. Characteristic of microbial biodegradants and creation of Databases. Criteria for biostable materials.
  • Biotechnology of waste treatment: industrial and agricultural wastes. Anaerobic fermentation and bio-gas production.
  • Biotechnology and energy production: biomass to energy, production of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels.
  • Ecology and biotechnology. 

Supporting Courses in Biotechnology (16 credits)

1. Biotechnology of food production (6 credits)

Single cell protein from hydrocarbons. Microbiological treatment and protein enrichment of cellulosic and starchy materials. Microalgae and their use for production of SCP.

Characteristics of main groups of micro-organisms perspective for production of SCP.

Bacteriological production of saccharides from cellulose and starch: glucose-fructose syrup and fructose production.

Topinambur and inulin-containing plants as a source for production of fructose, fructose-glucose syrup, feed protein and ethanol process-engineering and production characteristics. LEC, LAB.

2. Bacterial insecticides (2 credits)

Characteristics of main groups of bacteria for production of insecticides. Mechanisms of insecticide action.

Process-engineering of production and product specification. Use of preparations.

Preparative forms and combined use with chemical insecticides. Preparations from viruses, fungi and nematodes. LEC, LAB.

3. Biotechnology of amino acid production (4 credits)

Chemistry and biochemistry of amino acids. Amino acid producing strains. Raw materials. Quality of amino acids. Comparison and choice of method for amino acid production. Economics of amino acid production. Utilisation of secondary products of amino acid manufacturing. LEC, LAB.

4. Biotechnology and environment (2 credits)

Microbial deterioration of synthetic polymers. Characteristic of microbial biodegradants and creation of Databases. Criteria for biostable materials.

Biotechnology of waste treatment: industrial and agricultural wastes. Anaerobic fermentation and biogas production.

Biotechnology and energy production: biomass to energy, production of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels.

Ecology and biotechnology. LEC

5. Clonal micropropagation of plants (2 credits)

Methods and stages of clonal micropropagation. Influence of various factors on the process of clonal micropropagation. Somaclonal variability and the problem of genetic stability. Obtaining of health planting material. Peculiarities of clonal micropropagation of ornamental, medicinal, vegetable and arboreous cultures. LEC, LAB

6. Obtaining of transgene plants (2 credits)

Methodology and problems of plant genetic engineering. Plant cell transformation by the Ti-plasmide of Agrobacterium. Direct transfer of genes into the plants. Markers of genetic engineering of plants. Gene expression. Advances of plant genetic engineering. LEC

7. Microbial, plant and animal cells and tissues cultures (4 credits)

Culture collections as microbial resource centres and the background of biotechnological potentials: principles of organisation and international community. Biodiversity and basic approaches for microbial systematics and classification.

Numerical taxonomy, cluster analysis and use of computer technology for identification and differentiation of microbial species. LEC, LAB

8. Immobilised enzymes and cells of micro-organisms (1 credits)

Principles and methods of immobilisation. Bioreactors for immobilised systems and use of membrane technology.

Activation, stabilisation of immobilised systems and regeneration of enzyme co-factors. Biosensors and use of immobilised system for their creation.

Immobilised systems as the background of biocatalysis and biotransformation.

Obtaining of amino and organic acids by immobilised microbial cells and enzymes (methodology and practical realisation). LEC, LAB

9. Biogeotechnology (1 credit)

Chemolithotropic micro-organisms, their ecology, physiology and role in nature.

Bacterial leaching of copper and other metals. LAB

10The effects of physical factors on higher plants (potato, soy, corn, tomato, etc.) and microorganisms (yeasts, bacteria) and biotechnology of feed and food processing.

  • The Study of the Role of Cell Hydration in Regulation of Microbes sensitivity to toxic effect of chemical factors.  .(credit 1)
  • The Study of Mechanism of non-ionizing radiation effect on plant seeds germination potentials..(credit 1)
  • The study of the nature of metabolic pathway responsible for infrasound sensitivity of sperm membrane and oocytes .(1 credits)