Integrated biotechnology laboratories

Semester 1

Semester 2

Semester 3

Semester 4



University of Algarve


A laboratory based discipline focussed on biotechnology methods that will stimulate students to apply their theoretical knowledge to practical situations. Methods and their application will be developed through 5 modules focussed on specific approaches used in biotechnology: bioreactors, proteomics, genetics and in vitro culture approaches. Students work in small teams and each designs and develops their own work program to successfully complete the experimental objectives presented. Theoretical concepts are developed through introductory lectures that precede the practical work. Analysis of results and outcomes are through theoretical practical classes and group discussion.


Module A) Bioreactores; sterilization, assembly of a bioreactor, preparation of culture medium, preparation of the inoculums (microalgae/ plant cells), monitoring of Biophysical parameters during reaction, sampling and biochemical analysis, calculations of bioreactor processes. Module B) Proteomics; cloning, PCR, isolation of recombinant vector, transfection, preparation of the inoculums, optimization of production conditions, isolation of recombinant protein by affinity chromatography, quantification of recombinant protein, western blotting to confirm production of recombinant protein. Interpretation of the results. Module C) Genetics; isolation of genomic DNA, restriction maps, non radioactive probing method, RAPD, ALFP, application of methods to genetic fingerprinting, interpretation of results. Module D) In vitro culture methods; preparation of medium, plant material, shoot proliferation, characterization of material. Interpretation of the results.


Bachelor level in sciences.


To provide students with a working knowledge about applications and experimental challenges of bioreactors, proteomics, genetics and in vitro culture approaches; stimulate students to develop practical skills in the area of laboratory based approaches in biotechnology; provide the conditions to promote and develop each students capacity to work independently in a research laboratory and promote a critical approach to data analysis and interpretation and presentation of results.


Students will develop laboratory based problem solving skills, they should be able to follow a protocol and execute independently experimental procedures including the organisation of a work program and tie management and also critical laboratory based problem solving. Knowledge acquired will include theoretical and practical aspects underlying Bioreactors, proteomics, genetics and in vitro culture methods. The discipline will reinforce pre-existing and newly acquired knowledge and students will exercise, numerical skills, biochemical, molecular, bioprocess and chemical skills.

Key skills acquired

Scientific knowledge and understanding:
1) Understand the importance of the practical methods and approaches in Biotechnology and their application to specific problems.
2) Link practical skills with theoretical knowledge.
3) Mobilize theoretical knowledge to resolve practical problems in a hands-on situation.
4) Searches for information to solve practical problems or to improve understanding of the methods utilized.
5) Identify problems and define strategies for their resolution
6) Elaborate a report presenting and analyzing the results obtained.
General competence:
Transferable skills:
1) Use of English (oral and written).
2) Formulating and presenting well justified opinions and comments.
3) Demonstrate critical capacity.


1) Efficient Strategies for Production of Eukaryotic Proteins. Comprehensive Biophysics, Volume 1, 2012, Pages 4-33 J.D. Cossar, C.H. Arrowsmith
2) Cellular Systems. Comprehensive Biotechnology (Second Edition), Volume 2, 2011, Pages 11-23
C. Du, C. Webb
3) Shake-Flask Bioreactors
Comprehensive Biotechnology (Second Edition), Volume 2, 2011, Pages 213-226
W. Klöckner, J. Büchs
4) Bioreactors for Plant Cell Culture
Comprehensive Biotechnology (Second Edition), Volume 2, 2011, Pages 361-372
S. Furusaki, T. Takeda
5) Encyclopedia of Microbiology (Third Edition), 2009, Pages 206-211
L.E. Erickson
6) Reaction Engineering of Biotransformations
Reference Module in Chemistry, Molecular Sciences and Chemical Engineering, from Comprehensive Chirality, Volume 7, 2012, Pages 71-100, Current as of 13 March 2013
M. Bechtold, S. Panke
7) Genetics and Molecular Biology (2nd Edition) Robert Schleif Department of Biology The Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland


Step 1 - continuous assessment of the laboratory based work.
Step 2 - a written report providing an introduction, materials and methods, results and discussion for each of the experimental modules.
Step 3 - a poster for public discussion.
Step 4 - presentation and group discussion of the results obtained.

Involved teachers

Prof Anabela Romano, Prof Deborah Power, Prof Sara Raposo, Prof Jose Leitao, Dr Liliana Anjos, Eng. Carlos Lopes

Contact hours