autumn 2018
BIO-2009 Green Biotechnology and Bioenergy - 10 ECTS

Last changed 29.01.2019

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. Concerns only admission to singular courses. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

Bachelor and Master students with interest in microbial or plant biology, molecular biology, biotechnology, and metabolic modeling. The course is available as a singular course.

Admission requirements

Applicants from Nordic countries must have: Generell studiekompetanse, samt følgende spesielle opptakskrav: Matematikk R1 eller matematikk S1+S2 og i tillegg ett av følgende programfag:

  •     Matematikk (R1+R2)
  •     Fysikk (1+2)
  •     Kjemi (1+2)
  •     Biologi (1+2)
  •     Informasjonsteknologi (1+2)
  •     Geofag (1+2)
  •     Teknologi og forskningslære (1+2)

Application code: 9336 (Nordic applicants). It is a requirement that students have  some prior knowledge of biology and ecology, chemistry and mathematics. (Participants must have taken introductory level university courses, and achieved pass grades, in these subjects). International applicants: Higher Education Entrance Qualification and certified language requirements in English. It is a requirement that students have  some prior knowledge of biology and ecology, chemistry and mathematics. A list of the requirements for the Higher Education Entrance Qualification in Norway can be found on the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education website -

Due to limited lab facilities the maximum number of participants has been set to 23.

Course content

The course will give an introduction into techniques and applications of "green" biotechnology, i.e. biotechnology with photosynthetic organisms.The lectures will cover techniques for targeted alteration of the properties of plants and algae. Breeding, genome editing and genetic modification and their advantages and disadvantages will be introduced. A focus will be on applications of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, horticulture or aquaculture and the production of high value plant compounds (nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, biofuels, etc.) The course will also cover the risk assessment of plant GMOs, safety measures when working with plant GMOs, bioreactor and photobioreactor technology, current and future modell plants. An introduction into in silico metabolic modeling as important means to predict effects of an altered metabolism will be included in the course. These aspects will be deepened by reading original publications on selected themes. The lab part will cover plant transformation and regeneration techniques, plant organ and tissue culture, identification of transgenic plants by PCR-based techniques.

Recommended prerequisites

BIO-1006 Animal- and plant physiology, BIO-2106 Microscopical imaging Techniques

Objectives of the course

Knowledge; Students who have completed this course

  • can distinguish "red", "white", "blue" and "green" biotechnology
  • can define what a "GMO" is
  • are familiar with genetic modification techniques
  • are familiar with applications of plant GMOs
  • can explain how a photobioreactor works
  • can define first, second and third generation of biofuels

Skills; Students who have completed this course:

  • can apply safety measures when working with  plant GMOs
  • are knowledgeable about the challenges within plant biotechnology and its rewards
  • can critically assess the pros and cons of plant Biotechnology
  • are familiar with techniques for transient plant cell transformation
  • can set up and maintain a sterile plant tissue culture
  • have knowledge of relevant databases (KEGG, BRENDA, BIOCYC) and modeling tools (e.g. COPASI)

General competance; Students who have completed this course

  • know the theoretical background concerning biotechnology
  • can read and understand original articles
  • have practical expertise concerning expression of foreign proteins in photosynthetic organisms
  • have learned to give a talk in front of an audience
  • can discuss the contents of publications with fellow students and teachers

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

20 h of lectures, 4 h of seminar (talks given by each individual student), 30 h of lab and 10 h of computer lab. Necessary safety training will be given. The course will be run as an intensive course (2 consecutive weeks).

NB! Please note that the course has mandatory activities starting in week 33 (August 14)!


Oral exam; Power Point Presentation of a publication in a group seminar with an external sensor present. Pass/Fail.

Course work requirements: Attendence of lectures and lab exercises, and an individual lab report.

There will be a re-sit examination for students that did not pass the previous ordinary examination.


Recommended reading/syllabus

Contents of lectures and articles discussed in the seminars
  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: BIO-2009