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Exploitation of Natural Products


Admission requirements

The course is open for all students that are enrolled in the minor Molecular Biotechnology.

Contact information

Coordinator: Dr. Y.H. Choi Email:


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).

Learning goals

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

Final qualifications:
Students have gained knowledge about several aspects of important metabolites from different sources including their synthesis, methods for their isolation and characterisation, ecological function, and specific applications. Students have gained experience in preparing a powerpoint presentation about a specific metabolite, and in giving an oral presentation in English language.


Four-week course from 3 September 2018 to 28 September 2018. A 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.


Register for this course via Usis and enroll in Blackboard.

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