ENVT5514 Environmental Biosensing Agents: Contaminants, Cleanup and Crops

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Humans place significant pressures on our environment. Population increases cause the release of contaminants, the need to rehabilitate degraded environments as well as the need to ensure nutritious food production with greater efficiency. One central requirement to these environmental pressures is the need to monitor factors such as environmental degradation, the trajectory of rehabilitation efforts and the ability to measure the health of food productions systems. This unit focuses on the recent biotechnology solutions to these requirements, from utilising microbial based toxicity sensors, the construction of highly specific biosensors for detecting key environmental agents through to whole system sensing using chemical, biological and ecological approaches. Particular attention is placed upon novel biological based strategies to detect pollutants in soils and water courses, measuring the release from toxicity in rehabilitation efforts and the adoption of targeted biosensors for new generation crop sensing.
Students are able to (1) evaluate and compare the means by which sensing agents can be designed and the biotechnological approaches employed in microbes, animals and plants for environmental sensing and their current practical usage; (2) demonstrate practical experience of developing and deploying a recombinant sensor to detect a specific pollution event; (3) design field scale approaches used to ensure adequate tracking of environmental rehabilitation and constraint release from a chemical, biological and ecological standpoint; and (4) describe the use of chemical and biosensing agents in cropping and plant production systems, the current state of art and future developments.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) biosensor design and sensing applications online quiz; (2) biosensor production & diffuse pollution mapping practical; and (3) large scale field site case study employing student measures. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Sasha Jenkins
Unit rules
BIOC4002 Fundamentals of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I or equivalent
ENVT5001 Biotechnology in the Natural Environment
Contact hours
lectures/tutorials: 2 hours per fortnight; field trips/practical work: 4 hours per fortnight
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