cod. 1010214

Academic year 2024/25
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Microbiologia agraria (AGR/16)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
24 hours
of face-to-face activities
3 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Integrated course unit module: FOOD HYGIENE AND MICROBIOLOGY

Learning objectives

Module 1 of the Food Hygene and Microbiology course aims to make known and understood the industrial use of microorganisms in food fermentation and the principles underlying the industrial production of the microorganisms themselves. At the end of the course, the student must be able to understand and critically evaluate the meaning, the technological role and the potential applications of microorganism’s characteristic of food processes and industrial microbiology. Using the knowledge acquired, you must be able to analyze existing processes and plants from a microbiological point of view, evaluating their performance, adequacy and possible improvements both in terms of performance and safety. In particular, the knowledge of aspects related to food contamination and production plants will provide the essential elements to understand the role of spoilage microorganisms in food production and their impact on food quality and on food production plants.
Finally, the discussion of case studies relating to the topics covered, will aim to make the student understand the applicative potential of the theoretical notions covered. The course therefore aims to enable the student to draw conclusions regarding the effect of the presence and development of different microorganisms in food, as well as in production plants, but also to be able to understand and apply the production technologies of microorganisms useful for food processing.


No prerequisites are required.

Course unit content

The course will be divided into three parts: i) industrial use of microorganisms and food fermentations, ii) prediction and estimation of microbial growth and microbial inactivation and iii) case study.
In particular, the course will deal with the industrial use of microorganisms and the criteria for their selection with particular regard to their application in industrial processes. We will therefore talk about starter and non-starter cultures, their role in food production, the industrial processes used to obtain them and the advantages / disadvantages related to the production and use of the selected crops. Methods for evaluating microbial growth will be discussed in order to evaluate and select microorganisms for industrial uses on the basis of their characteristics. It will therefore deal with the use of microorganisms as starters or additional crops in food production through examples and technological applications.
Then the general concepts of operation of the fermenters and the production of biomass and metabolites of interest will be addressed, passing through the study of batch, fed-batch and continuous fermentations. We will talk about upstream and downstream, as well as scaling-up of the fermentation processes.
The general concepts of predictive microbiology will be mentioned, with particular reference to pathogenic microorganisms, their role and the problems connected with their presence in food and industrial plants for food production. We will talk about biofilm formation, cleaning and sanitizing of plants and therefore problems related to contamination of production plants. The topic of microbiological analyzes will be addressed: how they are carried out on foods and plants in order to assess the state of contamination of a food and / or surface. Finally, specific case studies relating to the topics covered will be discussed..

Full programme

Starter and non-starter cultures: what they are and their importance in food processing
Industrial use of microorganisms and selection criteria according to the food process
Industrial production of selected crops and advantages / disadvantages and potential problems related to the industrial production of selected crops
Fermenters: general operating concepts
Production of biomass and metabolites of interest
Upstream and downstream and process scaling up
Batch, fed-batch and continuous fermentations
Methods for assessing growth and microbial inactivation
Use of microorganisms as starters or additional cultures in food production
Fermented foods: examples and technological applications
Hints of predictive microbiology: pathogenic microorganisms, role and problems related to their presence in food and plants
Cleaning and sanitizing of plants and biofilm formation
Problems related to the contamination of food and plants: examples and corrective actions
Microbiological analysis: basic principles of microbiological analysis techniques applied to food and plants
Case study: discussion of practical cases applied to the theoretical notions learned during the course


Course slides provided by the professor
Principles of fermentation technology, PF Stanbury and A Whitaker and S Hall
Microbiology of fermented foods, edited by Brian J.B. Wood (Blackie academic & Professional)
Microbiologia dei prodotti alimentari, Casa editrice Ambrosiana
(the texts available in university libraries are as complementary and optional)

Teaching methods

The teaching will be carried out through lectures in the classroom with the aid of slides that will represent teaching material also available online (on the Elly page of the degree course) in pdf format for students. video recordings of the lessons and / or other video material useful for students who find themselves following the course remotely or asynchronously will also be uploaded on the Elly page of the course. If it is not possible to hold the lessons in person, due to force majeure, the lessons will be carried out in live streaming, recorded and uploaded on the elly platform, to guarantee students the opportunity to complete the training course. In the case of remote lessons, video materials and readings will be used to accompany what is covered in the lessons. For both modalities, both face to face and remotely, there will be moments of confrontation with the students to clarify and fix the most important topics.

Assessment methods and criteria

At the end of each part of the course during the course there are periodic lessons dedicated to classroom discussion with the students aimed at verifying the learning status. The final learning test will be carried out through a single written exam for modules I and II of the course integrated, lasting 1.5 hours, of which 1 question for each part of the open question course (5). Each question will be evaluated in 30th and the average of the marks, rounded up, of the questions will constitute the final mark. The sufficiency threshold will be reached if the average achieved is equal to or greater than eighteen thirty. If it is not possible to take written exams in person, the student's preparation will be verified by means of an oral exam in remote mode (teams).

Other information

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