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Exploitation of Natural Products


Admission requirements

Course is part of the minor Molecular Biotechnology.


All living organisms synthesize small compounds (metabolites) that play important roles in functioning of the organism in its environment. For instance, plants produce alkaloids that act as inhibitors of insect herbivory, whereas bacteria and fungi produce antibiotics to prevent growth of competitors. Many of these compounds are interesting from a biotechnological point-of-view and can be used to develop, amongst others, (novel) medicines, fragrances, flavours, and stimulants (e.g. caffeine, nicotine).

Course objectives

During this course, the students will learn about several aspects of important metabolites from different sources (fungi, bacteria, plants, animals), including their synthesis, methods for their isolation and characterisation, ecological function, and specific applications e.g. to improve human health.


Four-week course from 2 to 27 September 2013. Detailed time table will be published on blackboard.

Mode of instruction

Staff lectures, student presentations, practical, self study

Assessment method

Evaluation of individual oral presentation and intermediate and final written exams.


Announcements, course information and course material will be communicated via blackboard.

Reading list

Course material will be supplied by the lecturers.


Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Via Usis.

Contact information

Prof.dr.J.Memelink, email: