42629 - Food Microbiology

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Cesena
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Food Technology (cod. 8528)

Learning outcomes

The main outcome is the knowledge of the chemical, physical and biological factors that influence the development and survival of pathogenic and profitable microorganisms. This knowledge is necessary to understand the role of microorganisms in food. The student will be able to identify and predict the effect of formulation and technological processes on the microbial quality and food safety.

Course contents

- Role of pathogenic and profitable microorganisms in food.

Microorganisms and food quality: impact of microorganisms on hygienic safety, nutritional and sensory impact

Food pathogens and spoilage bacteria and their effect on the management of food quality Growth of microorganisms: optimal conditions, stress conditions. Growth kinetics of death and types of factors that influence the development / death. The microbial ecology applied to foods.

- Factors affecting the development and survival of microorganisms in food.

Intrinsic factors: pH, water activity, potential redox, microstructure, nutrient antimicrobial compounds.

Extrinsic factors: temperature, humidity, gas composition in the headspace, microbial interactions.

Contamination of surfaces: factors determining adhesion and biofilm formation

- The control of microorganisms or physical treatments, physical and biological agents: Use of temperature, pressure, ionizing radiation, gas mixtures, synthetic and natural antimicrobial substances, microbial protective cultures. Combined treatments: combined effect of technological treatments on survival and growth of microorganisms.

- Contamination control, development and survival in foods or Main microbial groups in food: Pseudomonadaceae, Acetic acid bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae (Coliforms, E.coli), Micrococcaceae, Lactic acid bacteria, bifidobacteria, propionic acid bacteria, Bacillaceae, Clostridia, Yeasts, molds.
Risk factors in the food ecosystem: Influence of formulation, process and distribution of the contamination, the development and survival microbial microflora associated with specific foods.
Control of fermentation processes: application of the concepts of microbial ecology for the optimization of fermentation processes.
Assessment and quantification of the risk and control strategies of quality and microbiological safety exercises in the laboratory or in the classroom of some case studies (working project), seminars on development and management of quality and microbiological safety of food, HACCP, MRA ( Microbial Risk Assessment).

- Exercises in class for the application of knowledge to case studies related to major food sectors
- Technical guided tours in food companies


B. Ray 2003 Fundamental Food Microbiology CRC Press
Giovanni Antonio Farris, Marco Gobbetti, Erasmo Neviani, Massimo Vincenzini Microbiologia dei prodotti alimentari (2012) Casa Editrice Ambrosiana ISBN: 978-88-08-18246

Lecture notes provided during the lessons

Teaching methods

Lectures, seminars, educational visits to food companies and analysis of case studies

Assessment methods

Verification of learning is done through an oral exam. The exam consists generally of three questions to ascertain the basic knowledge of the factors affecting the microbial ecology and their application in the ecosystems of the main food sectors.
The mark for the integrated course of "Food Microbiology" is calculated as the arithmetic average of the marks of the courses of "Food Microbiology" and "Industrial Microbiology".

Teaching tools

Videoprojector, PC, slides

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Andrea Gianotti


Zero hunger Good health and well-being Responsible consumption and production

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.