Biotechnology and safety aspects of vegetable-based foods
Learning outcomes of the course unit
At the end of the course, it is expected that Students are able:
- to distinguish vegetable fermented foods/beverages and the main microorganisms responsible for fermentation processes.
- to know how to integrate the basic acquired knowledge with bioprocesses management considering the raw materials, the microorganisms, the propagation methods (mixed and selected starter cultures) and process parameters.
- to recognize the logical steps that lead from the selection to the use of microorganisms with reference to the safety aspects using microbial cultures, including international guidelines.
- to acquire knowledge on design of bioprocesses from a vegetable raw material.
- to analyze qualitative and quantitative data of the bioprocesses.
- to communicate the acquired knowledge through written reports
Course contents summary
Classification of Vegetable Fermented foods. Acid and alkaline fermentations.
- Selection of microorganims. Starter cultures/Selected starter cultures. Scaling-up practices. Fermentation systems.
- Fermented vegetables. Sourdough for bakery products. Alcoholic Beverages. Vinegar and no-alcoholic fermented beverages. Other feremntations (coffè, tea and cocoa).
- Use of microorganisms and safety: Qualified Presumption of Safety (QPS) and Generally Recognised as Safe GRAS organisms.
Introduction and information on course organization. Definitions of interest for vegetable microbiology of fermented foods and beverages. Classification of fermented foods and beverages. Criteria to classify vegetable fermented foods and beverages. The microbial groups of interest (mold, yeasts, lactic acid bacteria and acetic acid bacteria). Safe use of microorganisms in vegetable fermented food microbiology by international regulations. The concept of Qualified Presumption of Safety (QPS) and Generally recognised as safe (GRAS). EFSA and FDA regulations. The list of beneficial microorganism: inclusion and exclusion criteria. Principles of taxonomy for using microorganisms in fermented foods and beverages.
Starter culture: general criteria. Indigenous and guided fermentations. Use of microbial cultures and design of bioprocesses using mixed and selected starter cultures. Probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics: definition and attributes. Categories of fermented foods and beverages: vegetables, sourdoughs, alcoholic beverages; no alcoholic fermented beverages (lactic and no lactic beverages). Other fermentations (eg. coffee, tea and cocoa): raw materials, bioprocesses and microorganisms.
Wood B.J.B, Microbiology of fermented food. Blackie Academic and Professional, London 1998.
Steinkraus K.H. Handbook of indigenous fermented food. Marcel Dekker, Inc. New York 1996.
Modern Food Microbiology -: Jay, James M., Loessner, Martin J., Golden, David A. Springer 2005
Teaching activities will include theoretical lessons supplemented by specialized websites and videos viewing. Lessons will also include critical reading of scientific, provided by the teacher. Student-teacher interaction will be encouraged and privileged in order to develop a critical knowledge of the topics.
The slides used to support teaching will be provided to students as part of the study material, lesson by lesson. They will be uploaded in the dedicated platforms. Slides are provided for studying but they cannot used / disclosed for other purposes.
Assessment methods and criteria
The assessment of learning will be in two parts:
1) evaluation of a written report on a case study, chosen by the student. The report must be drawn up scientifically and supported by the scientific literature. The report must be send (via email) to the teacher at least one week before the oral exam in the pdf format. The report will be assessed on a 0-30 rank.
2) an oral test which includes a critical discussion on the written report. During the oral test the knowledge on the bioprocesses, raw materials, fermentation systems and the ability to communicate by technical and appropriate language, will be assessed. The oral exam will be evaluated on 0-30 rank.
The final mark will be communicated at the end of the oral exam.