FHM-22306 Advanced Food Microbiology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Practical intensively supervised60
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. T Abee
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. T Abee
dr. RR Beumer
dr. ir. MJR Nout
dr. ir. MW Reij
dr. ir. R Hartemink
WC Hazeleger
dr. ir. EG Zoetendal
prof. dr. ir. MH Zwietering
dr. ir. MW den Besten
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 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:

At the end of the course a student is expected to be able to:
- describe the contribution of viruses, bacteria and fungi to food-borne diseases;
- obtain an understanding of their pathogenic traits;
- have insight in novel minimal processing methods used in food industries;
- understand effects of preservation factors and techniques on microbes;
- describe responses and survival strategies employed by bacteria;
- be able to illustrate and describe the role of key parameters in biofilm development;
- select appropriate and effective methods for detection and identification of microbes for assessment of food quality and safety;
- be able to describe the ecology and functionality of GI tract microbes;
- select and apply various methods to characterize the microbial composition and activity of GI tract and faecal samples;
- apply FSOs and risk analysis for the production of safe foods.


The activities consist of formal lectures, laboratory classes, written and oral presentations.


The final grade is based on a written theory examination (70%), an assessment of practical work, written reports on laboratory work, and an oral presentation (30%) (both parts must be passed with a minimum of 5.5). The theoretical background of the laboratory classes can be included in the theory exam.


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

Compulsory for: MFSFood SafetyMSc3WD
Restricted Optional for: MBTBiotechnologyMScB: Food Biotechnology3WD
MFTFood TechnologyMScA: Food Biotechnology3WD