MIB-11306 Microbiology and Biochemistry for Nutrition and Health


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. EG Zoetendal
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. MW den Besten
dr. ir. I Jongenburger
dr. ir. EG Zoetendal
prof. dr. SC de Vries
Examiner(s)prof. dr. SC de Vries
dr. ir. EG Zoetendal
dr. ir. I Jongenburger

Language of instruction:



Genetic, physiological, morphological and ecological aspects of prokaryotes and primitive eukaryotes are addressed, with special attention for the microbiota of the gastro-intestinal tract.
Diversity of microorganisms is the central item, but also that the underlying biochemistry has many common features, including principles, in common with human metabolism.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of the course, students are expected to be able to:
- explain the importance of the large diversity of microorganisms for development and sustainment of life on earth, including their effects on food safety and food quality;
- explain that structure and function of enzymes are a link between chemistry and the living cell, and that biochemical unity underlies biological diversity;
- explain the following basic principles of metabolism of (micro)organisms: manipulation of free energy by enzymes to direct metabolism, importance of oxidation-reduction reactions for extracting energy from organic and inorganic substrates, glycolysis, citric acid cycle and respiratory chain;
- compare the basal metabolism with glucose as a model substrate in (micro)organisms in the presence and absence of external electron acceptors;
- summarize a number of microbial interactions in specific ecosystems, with special emphasis on the human gastro-intestinal tract and food products;
- exemplify the influence of a number of environmental factors on microbial growth and activity in general, and foodborne microorganisms specifically;
- perform simple microbial experiments with emphasis on aseptic techniques for transfer and handling of microorganisms;
- enrich and isolate microorganisms under defined environmental conditions;
- perform experiments to test the presence of specific pathogens and spoilage bacteria in a number of food products and on surfaces.


- attend lectures that are supported by 1 textbook;
- perform several laboratory experiments;
- write a laboratory report and give a small presentation.


The final mark is based on:
A written exam that contains ten open and multiple choice questions (two about the part biochemistry, six about the part microbiology and two about the part food microbiology). To pass the exam, the mark for each part should be at least 5.00. To pass the course, the combined mark should be at least 5.50. To pass the (food) microbiology practicals the combined mark (practical work (+ written report)) should be at least 5.50. This mark may help to increase the overall mark of the course to a 5.50 (exam 4/5 + practicals 1/5). For getting a grade 5.0 (related to the BSc-5 regulations) see the course guide.


Textbooks are: Michael T. Madigan; John M. Martinko; [et.al]. (2014). Brock Biology of Microorganisms. 14th ed. Benjamin Cummings. ISBN 13: 9780321897398.
Textbook and practical course handbook are available at WUR-shop in the Forum.

Compulsory for: BVGNutrition and HealthBSc6AF
Restricted Optional for: BLSBachelor Orientation year Life SciencesBSc6AF