Yogurt making is the original microbial biotechnology: a practice older than science or civilization. In this course, we learn to make yogurt. Along the way we will learn how to culture, feed, and care for bacteria. We will also introduce methods to to count bacteria and understand their growth with basic mathematical models. The techniques that we present could be applied equally in the laboratory or in the kitchen, but how do we know if the product is safe to eat? We will consider the safety and ethics of genetically modifying the bacteria in our food and in our bodies.
Goals for this Course
- To demonstrate basic bacterial culture techniques.
To introduce math as a tool for synthetic biology.
- To consider the safety, ethics and human impact of synthetic biology.
Introduction: Yogurt as Biotechnology
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Unit 1: Fun with Fermentation
Unit 2: The Care and Feeding of Microbes
Unit 3: Let's Get Quantitative
Unit 4: Stay Safe Out There