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University of Reading

Small and Mighty: Introduction to Microbiology

University of Reading via FutureLearn


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Discover the fascinating world of microbes

Microbes may be invisible to the eye, but they dominate every environment on Earth – including you. Microbes are often associated with disease yet the majority of species help to keep us alive. How can you distinguish the good from the bad?

On this course, you’ll explore a general introduction to the field of microbiology and investigate the amazing diversity of microbial life. Learn about the significant roles microbes play in health, food, and the environment through expert interviews, lab demonstrations and practical experiments you can try at home.

This course is for anyone interested in microbiology. There should be something for everyone – whether you are coming to the course with a fair amount of previous knowledge, or none at all. There will be plenty of help available for those who are completely new to the subject. The course will be of particular interest to those who are studying biology at school or considering applying to a microbiology degree.


  • Meet the microbes
    • Welcome to the course
    • Types of microbes
    • How microbes function
    • Where microbes live
    • Microbe-host interactions
    • Review and reflect
  • Studying the hidden world
    • Microbiology discoveries
    • Microbiology techniques
    • Interpreting results
    • Your turn to analyse results
    • Review and reflect
  • For better or worse
    • Medical microbiology
    • Treatment and prevention
    • Food microbiology
    • Environmental microbiology
    • Microbes and biotechnology
    • Review and reflect

Taught by

Glyn Barrett


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4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 169 ratings

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  • Profile image for Asma Saed
    Asma Saed
    My name Asma said
    I'm qualifications Bsc (microbiology)
    Complete 3Years at university Osmania
    I want to study online free
    Thank you for giving time

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