Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: Cristina RESTUCCIA

Expected Learning Outcomes

1) Knowledge and understanding: teaching aims to provide students with basic knowledge of the biology of microorganisms in order to understand the interactions between contaminating microorganisms and process parameters of food preparations, and the role of microorganisms in food production/preservation/feeding; 2) applying knowledge and understanding: the knowledge acquired will enable students to predict the development of different microbial groups in food matrices on the basis of intrinsic, extrinsic and implicit parameters; 3) making judgments. the teaching aims to provide critical and judgmental skills through practical laboratory tests and interpretation of results; 4) communication skills: the teaching activities carried out both in the classroom and in the laboratory will stimulate students to communicate what they have gradually learned through interventions stimulated by the lecturer; and 5) learning skills: the teaching aims to provide useful tools for students to pursue their study independently and cues to connect with other disciplines in the course of study.

Course Structure

Face-to-face or distance lectures (42 hours) and exercise sessions (individual or group activity; 42 hours).  Should teaching be carried out in mixed mode or remotely, it may be necessary to introduce changes with respect to previous statements, in line with the programme planned and outlined in the Syllabus.

Information for students with disabilities and/or DSA. As a guarantee of equal opportunities and in compliance with current laws, interested students can ask for a personal interview in order to plan any compensatory and/or dispensatory measures, based on their specific needs and on teaching objectives of the discipline. It is also possible to ask the departmental contact of CInAP (Center for Active and Participatory Inclusion- Services for Disabilities and/or DSAs), in the person of professor Anna De Angelis.

Required Prerequisites

Fundamentals of biology

Attendance of Lessons

Not mandatory but strongly reccomended

Detailed Course Content

The course consists of an introductive section, which provides a general overview of prokaryotic (bacteria) and eukaryotic (yeasts and molds) microorganisms, and of a section focused on microbiological issues of food sector, with particular attention paid to the role of microorganisms in food products. Topics covered will be the intrinsic and extrinsic parameters capable of constraining the growth of microorganisms in foodstuffs, the determination of microorganisms in foodstuffs, the application and management of tools for controlling the microbial growth. In addition, the role of microorganisms in fermented foods and beverages will be addressed, considering as case studies the dairy products, leavened bakery products, table olives, salami. 

Textbook Information

1. Biavati B., Sorlini C. Microbiologia generale e agraria. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.Seconda edizione

2. Farris G.A., Gobbetti M., Neviani E., Vincenzini M. Microbiologia dei prodotti alimentari. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.

3.Cocolin L., Gobbetti M., Neviani E. Microbiologia alimentare applicata. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1Morphology and cytology of microorganisms Text 1: chap. 3. Material provided by the teacher.
2Nutrition and isolation of microorganismsText 1: chap. 5. Material provided by the teacher.
3Microbial growth: stages and direct and indirect methods for its measurementText 1: chap. 6. Material provided by the teacher.
4Hints of microbial metabolismText 1: chap. 8. Material provided by the teacher.
5Microbial taxonomy. Taxonomic criteria: classification, nomenclature, and identificationText 1: chap. 13. Material provided by the teacher.
6Main Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial groups of food interestMaterial provided by the teacher.
7Taxonomy, genetics, physiology and ecology of fungiText 1: chap. 14. Material provided by the teacher.
8Food microorganismsText 2: chap. 2. Text 3: chap. 2. Material provided by the teacher.
9Ecophysiology of microorganisms in foods Text 2: cap. 3. Text 3: chap.  3. Material provided by the teacher.
10Control of microorganismsText 1: chap.7. Text 2: chap. 4 e 5. Text 3: chap. 5. Material provided by the teacher.
11Microorganisms causing foodborne diseases. Microbiological risk in food.Text 2: chap.6. Text 3: chap. 13, 14, 15, 16. Material provided by the teacher.
12Fermentation: definition and factors affecting fermentation. Natural and guided fermentation. Traditionally fermented foods: advantages and disadvantages.Text 3: chap. 25. Material provided by the teacher.
13The control of fermentations through the use of starter cultures. Definition of starter culture; requirements for starter selection; classification of starter cultures. Text 3: chap. 26. Material provided by the teacher.
14The main microorganisms used as starters.Material provided by the teacher.
15The wine: spontaneous, and with starters and malolactic alcoholic fermentation Text 2: chap. 13. Text  3: chap. 34. Material provided by the teacher.
16Beer: brewing fermentations and microorganisms involvedText 2: chap. 15. Text  3: chap. 35. Material provided by the teacher.
17Bread and baked leavened products: brewer's yeast and sourdough; yeasts and lactic acid bacteria involved in the fermentation process; microbial spoilage of baked products.Text 2: chap. 16. Text 3: chap. 31. Material provided by the teacher.
18Fermented vegetables. Table olives: fermentation, the main microorganisms involved in table olive fermentation; the microbiota of table olives.Text  2: chap.17. Text 3: chap. 32. Material provided by the teacher.
19Fermented milks and cheeses: microorganisms involved in fermentation processes; technological and functional selection of starter strains; microbial involvement in cheesemaking processes. Text 2: chap.18, 19. Text 3. chap. 27, 28. Material provided by the teacher.
20Fermented meats: definition and origin of cured meats. Spontaneous and with starter fermentation ; starter cultures used in production.Text 2: chap. 20. Text 3: chap. 29. Material provided by the teacher.
21Functional foods: definition and characteristics. Probiotics and prebiotics.Text 2: chap. 21. Text 3: chap. 39, 40. Material provided by the teacher.

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

Verification of learning is through oral examination. Evaluation of the student's preparation will be based on the following criteria: ability to learn and level of depth of the topics covered, properties of synthesis and exposition, and ability to reason. 

Grading will follow the following pattern: 


Subject knowledge and understanding: Significant deficiencies. Significant inaccuracies

Ability to analyze and synthesize: Irrelevant. Frequent generalizations. Inability to synthesize

Use of references: Completely inappropriate. 


Subject knowledge and understanding: At threshold level. Obvious imperfections

Ability to analyze and synthesize: Barely sufficient ability

Use of references: Barely appropriate. 


Knowledge and understanding topic: Routine knowledge

Ability to analyze and synthesize: Is able to analyze and synthesize correctly. Argues logically and coherently

Use of references: Uses standard references. 


Subject knowledge and understanding: Good knowledge

Analysis and synthesis skills: Has good analysis and synthesis skills. Topics are expressed consistently

Use of references: Uses standard references. 


Knowledge and understanding topic: Knowledge more than good

Analytical and synthesis skills: Has considerable analytical and synthesis skills

Use of references: Has deepened understanding of topics. 


Knowledge and understanding topic: Knowledge very good

Ability to analyze and synthesize: Has considerable ability to analyze and synthesize.

Use of references: Important insights.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

Comparison of cell structures of prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

Functions of cell structures.

Nutritional requirements of various microbial groups.

Principles and applications of microbial growth control methods.

Stages of microbial growth.

Effects of different parameters on microbial growth.

Main microbial groups of food interest.

Starter cultures for the production of major fermented foods and beverages.