ENVT5514 Environmental Biosensing Agents: Contaminants, Cleanup and Crops

Credit
6 points
Offering
(see Timetable)
AvailabilityLocationMode
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Content
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.
Outcomes
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.
Assessment
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)
Winthrop Professor Andrew Whiteley
Unit rules
Prerequisites:
ENVT5001 Biotechnology in the Natural Environment and BIOC4002 Fundamentals of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I
or
equivalent
Contact hours
lectures/tutorials: 2 hours per fortnight; field trips/practical work: 4 hours per fortnight
Unit Outline
Semester 2_2019 [SEM-2_2019]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.