FHM-20306 Food Microbiology


Studiepunten 6.00

Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. MW den Besten
Lecturer(s)WC Hazeleger
dr. ir. MW Reij
prof. dr. ir. MH Zwietering
dr. ir. MW den Besten
prof. dr. EJ Smid
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. MH Zwietering
dr. ir. MW den Besten

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

FHM-22306 Advanced Food Microbiology, FHM-21806 Food Fermentation.


Knowledge on foodborne microorganisms is essential for supplying safe and wholesome foods with a long shelf life. This course offers an introduction into the basics of food microbiology and discusses both negative aspects of micro-organisms, such as spoilage and disease, and the positive effects of fermentative processes. Characteristics of food that influence growth and inactivation of micro-organisms (e.g. water activity, pH, preservatives, heating, modified atmosphere packaging) will be reviewed. The course provides a detailed introduction into the main bacterial foodborne pathogens (e.g. Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes) and methods for microbial examination, but also deals with foodborne viruses, parasites and fungi. Moreover, good manufacturing practices, personal hygiene, and the principles of cleaning and disinfection will be explained.
In a three week lab class spoilage organisms and pathogens will be isolated from food products and environments using traditional and molecular methods. In the tutorial classes molecular identification methods will be further explored and the effect of several bactericidal treatments will be investigated.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- describe main preservation processes and the spoilage associated organisms for specific food products;
- explain the factors that influence growth and inactivation of micro-organisms in food products qualitatively and quantitatively;
- know main characteristics of microorganisms that cause foodborne diseases (including mycotoxin producing fungi), and their relation to food products, and apply this to foodborne incidents;
- illustrate the variety of routes by which micro-organisms may reach food products, and the main control measures to prevent unacceptable contamination;
- explain the importance and the basic principles of hygiene including hand hygiene, formation of biofilm, zoning, cleaning and disinfection in food production environments;
- explain the basic principles of fermentation (role of specific micro-organisms, metabolic routes, control of fermentation processes), and relate these to some western and non-western fermented products;
- use isolation procedures to isolate and enumerate important spoilage organisms and foodborne pathogens from food products and environments.


The course consists of three parts: Two weeks of lectures and knowledge clips (about spoilage, fermentation, food borne diseases, hygiene and control), three weeks of practical classes, and one week of tutorial classes. At the end of the practical course, students have to hand in a written report on the results of the experiments. Completion of the digital assignments discussed during the tutorial classes is mandatory.


The final mark is based on the written exam (75%) and the practical course (25%: laboratory performance 12.5%, report 12.5%). The theoretical background of the practical and tutorial classes can be included in the written exam. Written exam consists of open and/or multiple choice questions and both the exam and the practical course should be passed (score at least 5.5), and scores remain valid for 6 academic years.


The theory book of MR Adams, MO Moss and McClure, Food Microbiology 4th ed. will be used and is available at the WUR-Shop.

Verplicht voor: BFTFood TechnologyBSc1AF
Keuze voor: MNHNutrition and HealthMScF: Food Digestion and Health1AF
MFSFood SafetyMScA: Applied Food Safety1AF
Verplicht voor: WUFTEBSc Minor Food Technology1AF