Curriculum & Course Descriptions


BS3018 Plant biology

Course Coordinator: Assistant Professor Oliver MUELLER-CAJAR (email: )

Academic Unit: 3 AU

Availability: Semester 1

Pre-requisite: None

Course Type: BS-Major-PE, BMS-Core, UE

Language of instruction: English

Teaching hours:  Lectures: 24 hours; Tutorials: 12 hours; Practicals: 9 hours

Learning Objective:

  • To gain better understanding of the interaction between plants and environment as well as the many biological processes that are unique to plants and/or relevant to human life and health (men has co-opted plants for thousands of years to get food, fiber and medicine from them).
  • To acquire an holistic view on diversity and evolution and on what allows plants to work in the context of ecological systems and survive in different range of habitats, facing potential competitors, predators and parasites. Special attention to the vulnerability of the rain forest.
  • To learn the biochemical and biophysical principles of photosynthesis and carbon assimilation in order to understand the molecular basis of biological energy conversion and its implications on global fossil and current energy.
  • To learn about plant genomics, plant genetic engineering and its implications.
  • Plant secondary metabolites and use as medicine

Content: This course is an introduction to the world of plants at advanced level in selected topics such as diversity and classification, ecology, physiology, the photosynthetic processes and bioenergy, plant genomics and secondary metabolites.

Learning Outcome:

  • The students will have acquired the relevant knowledge to be able to transfer information in order to increase awareness, discuss and develop a critical view on fundamental issues that concern the sustainability and maintenance of our planet such as:
    • The huge diversity of the rain forest, its vulnerability, its destruction and measures that have been taken to protect it and what still has to be done in order to save it.
    • The different strategies used to obtain energy from plants and artificial photosynthesis, its advantages and limitations.
  • With knowledge in Plant Genetic Engineering, the students will be able to critically look into GM (genetically modified) plants, which are often under negative propaganda.
  • The students will have a better understanding of the nature and diversity of the plants natural products and their uses in Western and Traditional Medicine.


  • Biology of Plants, 7th ed by Peter H Raven published by W. H. Freeman in 2005.
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants by Bob Buchanan, Wilhelm Gruissem, Rusell L. Jones. American Society of Plant Biology, 2002

*Prerequisites for Incoming Exchange Students: Equivalent of A-Level Biology and Science or Engineering major