Biotechnology and Environment

This course is part of the programme
Bachelor's programme in Environment (first cycle)

Objectives and competences

The primary goal of the course is to present and discuss basic concepts of biotechnology, with special focus on environmental biotechnology. A comprehensive review of different applications in industry, medicine and agriculture is given. A great part of the course presents and discusses environmental applications of biotechnology, ranging from biotechnological processes for biofuel production to waste water and solid waste treatment and bioremediation.
Students gain insight into the basic molecular mechanisms, principles of genetic modification of organisms, as well as of biosafety, ethical considerations and legislature. Students gain the ability for critical evaluation of new biotechnological processes and products. Students also develop the ability to address modern biotechnological development in a rational and critical manner, considering also different social, ethical and safety aspects.


Basic knowledge of biology, microbiology, biochemistry and chemistry.


• Introduction to biotechnology
• Molecular basis of biotechnology (recombinant DNA technology)
• Basic techniques in biotechnology
• Bioprocess/fermentation technology
• Microbial, plant and animal cultures
• Biotechnology in food and beverage industry
• Biotechnology in medicine and pharmacy
• Plant and animal biotechnology
• Genetically modified organisms (GMO)
• Environmental biotechnology; biofuels, waste water treatment, landfill technologies, composting, bioremediation, biosensors
• Ethical considerations related to biotechnology
• Safety in biotechnology
• Bioinformatics

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:
Students know and understand basic principles of biotechnological processes ranging from common molecular mechanisms to advanced technological processes. Students are acknowledged with a broad spectrum of biotechnological applications and they know their main characteristics. Students know and understand molecular basis for genetic modifications of different organisms. Students are aware of potential safety issues of biotechnological processes and are able to make a basic environmental impact assessment. Students know national and EU regulation on the use of biotechnology. Students have a good understanding of environmental biotechnology and are able to discuss modern trends in this field.
Students are able to read, understand and critically discuss scientific literature in the field.


• Smith J.E. 2009. Biotechnology, Fifth Edition. Cambridge University Press. Catalogue E-version
• Barnum S. R. 2005. Biotechnology: An Introduction. Brooks Cole. E-version
• Fulekar M.F. 2017. Environmental Biotechnology, Oxford & IBH Publishing. Catalogue
• Raspor P. 1996. Biotehnologija. Bia. Catalogue E-version
• Prosojnice s predavanj, MITeam UNG/Moodle UNG učilnice

Selected chapters:
• Petre, M (ed.). 2013, Environmental Biotechnology - New Approaches and Prospective Applications, IntechOpen. E-version
• OECD (2013), “Biotechnology for the Environment in the Future: Science, Technology and Policy”, OECD Science,Technology and Industry Policy Papers, No. 3, OECD Publishing. E-version


• Laboratory work evaluation (30 %), topic presentation and discussion (10 %), written exam (60 %)

Lecturer's references

Martina Bergant Marušič is an Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at UNG. She obtained her PhD in Biotechnology.
BERGANT MARUŠIČ, Martina, BANKS, Lawrence. SNX17 facilitates infection with diverse papillomavirus types. Journal of virology, 2013, vol. 87, no. 2, str. 1270-1273
ŽVAB, Urška, BERGANT MARUŠIČ, Martina, LAVRENČIČ ŠTANGAR, Urška. Microplate-based assays for the evaluation of antibacterial effects of photocatalytic coatings. Applied microbiology and biotechnology, ISSN 0175-7598, 2012, str. 1341-1351
BERGANT MARUŠIČ, Martina, OZBUN, Michelle A., CAMPOS, Samuel K., MYERS, Michael P., BANKS, Lawrence. Human papillomavirus L2 facilitates viral escape from late endosomes via sorting nexin 17. Traffic, 2012, vol. 13, no. 3, str. 455-467.

REPNIK, Urška, BERGANT MARUŠIČ, Martina, WRABER-HERZOG, Branka, JERAS, Matjaž. Late dendritic cells are still able to evoke a potent alloreactive CTL response. Immunobiology, 2008, vol. 213, no. 1, str. 51-64.

BERGANT MARUŠIČ, Martina, MEDEN, Luka, REPNIK, Urška, SOJAR, Valentin, STANISAVLJEVIĆ, Dragoje, JERAS, Matjaž. Preparation of native and amplified tumour RNA for dendritic cell transfection and generation of in vitro anti-tumour CTL respones. Immunobiology, 2006, vol. 211, str. 179-189.