Master's degree in Agri-Food Biotechnology

Master's degree in Agri-Food Biotechnology

Microbiology and traceability of microorganisms (2018/2019)

Course code
Sandra Torriani
Academic sector
Language of instruction


Teaching is organised as follows:
Activity Credits Period Academic staff
teoria 5 I semestre Sandra Torriani
laboratorio 1 I semestre Giacomo Zapparoli

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Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide students with basic knowledge on the microorganisms involved in the processing, preservation and spoilage of foods of animal and plant origin; their activities will be de-scribed with particular reference to the interactions between microorganism-product and microorgan-ism-process. The aspects of safety of food will be studied through the application of innovative meth-odological approaches that enable the rapid and specific detection of biotic components both unde-sired and potentially dangerous to the consumer health.

The aim of the laboratory is to demonstrate to the student, by way of example, a process of analysis of a food, through the use of classical and molecular analytical methods, which can give general indi-cations on the microbiological quality of the product itself.


MM: teoria
Introduction to food microbiology. Foods as growth substrate for microorganisms. Ecology of food contamination. Microbial behaviour as a function of the micro-ecological features of the food. Intrinsic and extrinsic parameters that affect microbial growth in food (pH, water activity, temperature, humidity, nutrients, ect.). Physical and chemical methods to reduce microbial growth in food. Food preservation by using additives, radiations, low and high temperatures, lyophilisation, fermentation processes. Incidence, type and characteristics of microorganisms associated with food. Pro-technological microorganisms, spoilage microorganisms and pathogens. Characterization and metabolism of the main microbial groups of interest in food: lactic acid bacteria, yeasts and moulds. Microbiological aspects related to non-fermented foods of animal origin and vegetable origin. Importance of the fermentation processes in food processing. Microbiological aspects related to fermented foods of animal and plant origin. Definitions of biological safety, traceability, risk ... Safety issues (biotic components unwanted and potentially dangerous to health, and compounds released by microorganisms, eg. mycotoxins, biogenic amines, AR genes). Food-borne microorganisms of interest for safety: Aeromonas hydrophila, Clostridium botulinum, Salmonella, etc.. Molecular methods specific for the detection of pathogens and of undesirable compounds released / present in the food. National and international legislation related to the food safety. Solutions, such as detection of the contamination points in the food chain, prevention, application of methods for detecting the contamination in food production.
MM: laboratorio
Three practical lessons will be carry out where a fermented dairy product and a microvinification will be analyzed and prepared, respectively. The former contains a specific bacterial strain, while the microvinification will be carried out by adding a yeast strain. Both microrganisms has specific properties useful for the biotecnological process. The use of standard and molecular approach allows to monitor the activity of each strain in the dairy product or during the alcoholic fermentation.

Assessment methods and criteria

MM: teoria
There are no ongoing trials. The examination will consist of an oral assessment of the degree of learning achieved throughout all the course program. To gain access to the test, at least one week before the test, the candidate must submit a report on the practical activities carried out in the laboratory. The exam consists of three or four questions posed to each candidate who will also have to submit a presentation of about 10 minutes on a recent scientific publication related to a topic of the program he chooses. The exam lasts in total about 30 minutes. The final evaluation is expressed in thirty-five.
MM: laboratorio
At the end of the practice lessons the student should be draw up a report on the activity carried out in laboratory. The manuscript will be discussed during the test.

Reference books
Activity Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
teoria Farris G.A., Gobbetti M., Neviani E., Vincenzini M. Microbiologia dei prodotti alimentari (Edizione 1) CEA 2012 ISBN 978-8-808-18246-3
teoria Suzzi G. & Tofalo R. Microbiologia enologica (Edizione 2) Edagricole 2018 978-88-506-5557-1


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