APS 206 Biotechnology and Food Security

Level 2
Semester 1A
Credits 10
Recommended Requisite  APS137 Plant Physiology, Reproduction and Development
Teaching Staff Dr Beth Dyson, Dr Steve Rolfe, Dr Ellie Harrison, Dr Ian Lidbury
Co-ordinator Dr Beth Dyson


This course will:
• consider agricultural productivity, crop protection, breeding and genetic engineering of plants and will provide an introduction to:
• the production of agricultural crops.
• the biotic and abiotic factors which can affect productivity.
• the use of breeding and genetic manipulation to improve crop performance.
• Non-food uses of crops (e.g. plastics, biofuels)


This course will consist of three topics: agricultural productivity, crop protection, and breeding and genetic engineering of plants. These emphasise the production of agricultural crops, the biotic and abiotic factors which can affect productivity and the use of breeding and genetic manipulation to improve crop performance. Biotic factors include such topics as weeds, insect pests and pathogens and sink-source relationships in crop plants. Abiotic factors include economic constraints, the structure of canopies and light interception, effects of pesticides on the environment, genetic manipulation to provide resistance to pests and pathogens and the use of fertilisers and other chemicals. The course will also consider non-food uses of crops, such as generation of plastics or use of crops for biofuels.


Dr Beth Dyson (BD)
Agricultural Productivity 

These lectures will cover a number of topics in agricultural productivity, including the importance of crops as sources of starch and protein, factors affecting crop production, crop canopies and light interception, sink-source relationships in crop plants, the genetic manipulation of proteins and carbohydrates, and the evolution and breeding of modern wheats, and non-food uses of crops, such as biofuels.

Dr Steve Rolfe (SAR)
Biotechnology and Agriculture 

These lectures will examine the benefits and problems associated with traditional plant breeding techniques and genetic engineering. Particular emphasis will be placed on the expanding rold of genetic engineering in crop protection and production. Ethical issues will be presented for discussion.

Ellie Harrison(EH) and Ian Lidbury(IL)
Nutrient Acquisition
These lectures will address the Issues in our current agricultural system with the acquisition of nitrogen and phosphorus by crop species. These nutrients are crucial to food security. Current research into nitrogen and phosphorus uptake and use by plants will be presented in these lectures

DELIVERY METHOD:  multiple lectures plus the last session will be devoted to a class discussion.

ASSESSMENT METHOD: 1½ hour examination. Essay type questions.

FEEDBACK: During the module, lecturers will provide a set of short answer questions for formative feedback. These require you to consider high level concepts and ideas. Students can receive feedback on performance in examinations by arranging a meeting with their personal tutor at the start of the following Semester.

Please go to Blackboard for more information on APS 206

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