FSHN 472: Applied Food Microbiology

Course Description

Explores experimental methods for studying microbial food safety, quality, and fermentation. Introduces basic microbiology techniques and uses them to study how to detect and control spoilage microorganisms and potential foodborne pathogens. Instructs on conducting and experimentally tracking the progress of classic food fermentations.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Use standard methods of isolation, identification, and enumeration of microorganisms in food and other biological samples
  • Predict how preservative and thermal lethality treatments influence the levels of microorganisms in foods or other media.
  • Start and measure the progress of common bacterial and fungal fermentations
  • Conduct testing to isolate and identify bacterial pathogens, or their indicators, in food and environmental samples.

Course Format

This is a laboratory course designed around learning through doing. There will two laboratory sessions each week where students will carry out applied microbiology experiments. A typical class session will involve a pre-lab discussion of the experimental work for the day. Then students will work in lab groups to execute the experiments. Because microbial processes take time, many experiments will be spread across multiple days, and multiple experiments may be in progress simultaneously. Often components of a larger experiment will be broken down into smaller parts executed by individual lab groups. Upon the completion of any given experiment, we will take time, as a group, to share our primary data and discuss the implications of the class results, overall.

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