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Microbiology and food safety


Coordinator: Joost van den Brink

In Microbiology and food safety, the basics of food microbiology will be covered. This will be applied in a practical on isolation procedures to enumerate and isolate important spoilage organisms. The theory on fermentation and its application in food preservation, flavor enhancement and the production of food ingredients will be covered and the students will be able to do some basic biotechnological calculations on this. The students will apply their knowledge in a real life case study.

The course will contain three elements: lectures concerning the theory of food microbiology (including tutorials on fermentation analysis) and two hands-on projects: beer fermentation and food spoilage. During the beer fermentation we will study the difference between conventional and non-conventional yeasts. These fermentations will be followed by physiological analysis such as biomass formation, sugar consumption, and ethanol production. The obtained knowledge will hopefully shed new light on the use of non-conventional yeasts in brewing beer. The other project involves setting-up your own spoilage experiment using your knowledge on intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influence microbial growth.

Learning goals

Learning Objectives:

The students can:

  • describe the properties of various food-related pathogens and can select a method to detect and enumerate microorganisms in food.

  • explain the effects of microorganisms on food and can describe the applications.

  • analyze a fermentation, determine essential growth & production indicators, and is able to perform an in-depth interpretation of the fermentation data.

  • analyze research questions and assignments related to food microbiology, evaluate relevant scientific publications, assess experimental techniques and select an approach to answer the research question.

Final Qualifications:


  • know and understand the scientific foundations (theories, methods, techniques) of food microbiology and can understand scientific publications in the field.

  • can relate the various scientific disciplines and use an interdisciplinary approach to analyze a problem and generate solutions.

  • can document and present results.

Period: September – January
Or: February - June

Mode of instruction
Lectures, practicals, tutorials, case study.

Assessment method
The course will be assessed by a written exam and presentations on the practical work. Both elements, exam and presentation, will contribute equally to the final mark (1/2exam + 1/2presentation = final mark). Each element needs to be above a 5.0 and the final mark needs to be above 5.5.

Blackboard will be used for communication and exchange of documents

Reading list
Course materials will be provided by the teachers.

This course is part of the programme Science of Cooking. A student is required to follow all courses included in this programme.