FHM-22306 Advanced Food Microbiology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. T Abee
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. T Abee
dr. ir. MW Reij
dr. ir. R Hartemink
WC Hazeleger
dr. ir. EG Zoetendal
prof. dr. ir. MH Zwietering
dr. ir. MW den Besten
prof. dr. EJ Smid
Examiner(s)prof. dr. T Abee
prof. dr. ir. MH Zwietering

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

FHM-20306 Food Microbiology.

Continuation courses:

FHM-30306 Food Safety Risk Assessment or thesis FHM.


This course aims to provide insight in the ecology and physiology of food and gastro-intestinal-tract microbes. The impact of viruses, bacteria and fungi on food quality and safety is discussed. Microbial stress response in (minimal) processing is highlighted and linked with current and possible future developments in product design and formulations, including the use of bio preservatives. Food processing may select for stress resistant and possibly more virulent pathogenic variants and mechanisms involved and associated risks are discussed. Biofilm formation i.e. the capacity of micro-organisms including food-borne pathogens to form slime-imbedded layers of bacteria on surfaces, and the subsequent release from these surfaces possibly causing recontamination of foods is discussed. Advances in microbial detection and identification methods are highlighted. Furthermore, tools for the production of safe foods including food safety objectives (FSOs) and risk analysis will be presented. In addition, during the practical course experience with a range of techniques will be obtained to study microbial eco-physiology in foods and in the GI-tract.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- discuss the contribution of viruses, bacteria and fungi to food-borne diseases;
- illustrate novel minimal processing methods used in food industries;
- compare effects of preservation factors and techniques on microbes;
- explain survival strategies employed by bacteria;
- dissect key parameters in biofilm development;
- select and categorize methods for detection and identification of microbes for assessment of food quality and safety;
- design microbiological sampling plans to control the microbiological quality and safety of food products;
- explain the ecology and functionality of GI tract microbes;
- select and apply methods to characterize the microbial composition and activity of GI tract and faecal samples;
- explain FSOs and risk analysis for the production of safe Foods;
- collect microbiological data, perform data analysis, present results, and prepare a report on food microbiology experiments.


The activities consist of:
- formal lectures;
- laboratory classes;
- written and oral presentations.


The final mark is composed of:
- a mark for the practical work and report (30%);
- exam (70%), with both marks at least 5.5.


Combined hand outs covering the seminars and a guide book for laboratory work will be available at the WUR-shop.

Compulsory for: MFSFood SafetyMScA: Applied Food Safety3WD
Restricted Optional for: MBTBiotechnologyMScB: Food Biotechnology3WD
MFTFood TechnologyMScA: Food Biotechnology and Biorefining3WD