General Microbiology


Course Contents

  • Unit 1: Structure and evolution of organizations
    • Common characteristics of living things: chemical composition, cell structure, cell types, metabolism, etc.
    • Classification of microorganisms: Bacteria, Archaea, Eukaryota.
    • Viruses: structure, morphology, multiplication, viral diseases. Bacteriophages: structure, morphology, physiology of bacteriophages (infectious – non-infectious bacteriophages), lysogony. study of bacteriophages.
  • Unit 2: Metabolism of microbes
    • Enzymes: nature, structure, properties, mechanisms of enzyme regulation.
    • Bioenergetics: energy sources, biological oxidations, electron transporters, metabolic types of microorganisms, respiration, anaerobic respiration, fermentation, etc.
  • Unit 3: Microbial nutrition
    • Principles of nutrition, food types, growth factors, macromolecules as nutrients, water, oxygen.
    • Microbial interactions (synergy or symbiosis), microbial interactions in the food environment.
  • Unit 4: Growth of microbes – Effect of physicochemical factors on growth
    • Development of unicellular microorganisms. Parameters of microbial growth (number of divisions, generation time, growth rate, etc.). Growth curve of unicellular microbes. Colony formation.
    • Effect of physicochemical factors on the growth of microbes (temperature, pH, redox potential, radiation, pressure).
  • Unit 5: Survival of microbes
    • Survival of microbes in nature. Effect of environment on microbial viability. Lethal agents: physical agents (heat, cold, desiccation, radiation), chemical antimicrobial agents, antibiotics.
  • Unit 6: Genetics of microbes – Germs and disease
    • Mutations, genetic recombination (transformation, conjugation, transduction).
    • Relationships between microbes and macroorganisms. Parasitic relationships. Human microbiota. Pathogenicity of microbes.

Titles of Laboratory Exercises

  • Learning the operation, handling and maintenance of microbiology laboratory equipment: microscopes, incubators, colony counters, homogenizers, GasPak, etc.
  • Study of the morphological characteristics of bacteria. Staining techniques for bacteria (simple staining, Gram staining). Bacterial motility (wet mount technique).
  • Study of the culturing characteristics of bacteria. Substrate inoculation techniques. Morphological characteristics of bacterial colonies.
  • Study of the physiological characteristics of bacteria: requirements for temperature, pH, water, oxygen, nutrients.
  • Study of the biochemical characteristics of bacteria:
    • Catalase, oxidase tests.
    • Carbohydrate metabolism: sugar fermentation tests, MR- and VP-tests starch hydrolysis.
    • Protein metabolism: casein hydrolysis.
    • Amino acid metabolism: test of indole.
    • Lipid metabolism: lecithinase test.
    • Citrate utilization test.

Educational Goals

The course aims to achieve the following learning outcomes for students:

  • To introduce students to the world of microbes: what are microbes, their role in the cycle of matter, the preparation of food, medicine and industrial products, spoilage of food, the genesis of diseases.
  • To gain experience in microbiological techniques and methods used in food industry laboratories.
  • With sufficient knowledge of General Microbiology to understand the specific topics of Special Microbiology, Food Microbiology, Biotechnology and Food Hygiene.

General Skills

  • Analysis and interpretation of the properties of microbes regarding their morphological, physiological and biochemical characteristics as well as the taxonomic position of microorganisms in the world of living beings.
  • Investigating and understanding the role and distribution of microbes in nature, the interactions between them, the effects with other living organisms as well as the physicochemical changes they cause in their environment, with the aim of promoting analytical, productive and inductive thinking.
  • Explanation of many biological phenomena that take place with the participation of microorganisms, which are the “material of choice” for solving basic problems of biology, with the aim of producing new research ideas.

Teaching Methods

Face to face:

  • Lectures (theory and exercises) in the classroom.
  • Individual and group laboratory exercises in the microbiological laboratory.

Use of ICT means

  • Lectures on PowerPoint slides using PC and projector.
  • Notes and solved exercises in electronic format.
  • Use of videos and online applications in teaching.
  • Post course material and communicate with students on the Moodle online platform.

Teaching Organization

ActivitySemester workload
Laboratory Exercises50

Students Evaluation

Evaluation methods:

  • Mandatory attendance at (at least) 80% of the laboratory exercises.
  • Written final exams in the theoretical part of the course and solving exercises.
  • Written final exams in the laboratory part of the course with short development questions and critical questions.

The evaluation criteria are presented and analyzed to the students at the beginning of the semester.

Recommended Bibliography

  1. Παπαντωνίου Δ.. ΓΕΝΙΚΗ ΜΙΚΡΟΒΙΟΛΟΓΙΑ – Οδηγός Εργαστηριακών Ασκήσεων, Τμήμα Εκδόσεων ΑΤΕΙ-Θεσσαλονίκης, 2008.
  2. BROCK ΒΙΟΛΟΓΙΑ ΤΩΝ ΜΙΚΡΟΟΡΓΑΝΙΣΜΩΝ, Έκδοση: 1η/2018, Συγγραφείς: Michael T. Madigan, John M. Martinko, Kelly S. Bender, Daniel H. Buckley, David A. Stahl, Διαθέτης (Εκδότης): ΙΔΡΥΜΑ ΤΕΧΝΟΛΟΓΙΑΣ & ΕΡΕΥΝΑΣ-ΠΑΝΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΙΑΚΕΣ ΕΚΔΟΣΕΙΣ ΚΡΗΤΗΣ, ISBN: 978-960-524-523-8.
  3. Γενική Μικροβιολογία, Κύρτσου-Καραγκούνη Δ. Αμαλία, 1η έκδοση 2012, Εκδότης, UNIBOOKS IKE.
  4. Γενική Μικροβιολογία, Μπεζιρτζόγλου Ε., 1η έκδοση 2005, Εκδότης,Παρισιανού Ανώνυμη Εκδοτική Εισαγωγική Εμπορική Εταιρεία Επιστημονικών Βιβλίων.
  5. Adams M.R. & Moss M.O. Food Microbiology, 3rd edition, 2008, Cambridge, UK RSC Publishing.
  6. Wistreich, A. G., Microbiology Laboratory. Fundamentals and Applications, 2nd Ed., Pearson Education, New Jersey, 2003.