Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course will provide the essential elements for understanding the role of microorganisms in food production and their impact on food quality. In particular the objectives are the following:
a) Knowledge of the role of pathogenic microorganisms, both useful and harmful in foods
b) Knowledge of the main illnesses transmitted through food
c) Knowledge of the alterations of microbiological origin in foods
d) Knowledge of the intrinsic, extrinsic and implicit factors which influence the development and survival of microorganisms in food
e) Understanding the principles of the control of microorganisms through physical, chemical and biological treatments, or their combinations
The course aims to familiarize the student with the main aspects of microbiology and foods, so the prerequisites are a knowledge of microbiology in general.
Course contents summary
The microbiological quality of foods. The microorganisms in fermented and non fermented foods. Microorganisms in foods: bacteria, yeasts and moulds. Microorganisms as indicators of process and contamination. Pro-technological microorganisms, modifiers, pathogens. Modifying microorganisms: food degradation. Pathogenic microorganisms: pathogenesis. Infections and food poisonings: definition. Virulent and toxic factors. Pathogenic microorganisms in foods: Gram – and Gram +. The contamination of foods. Factors which influence the growth of microorganisms in foods: temperature, pH, Aw, potential redox and availability of oxygen, food composition. The control of growth and survival: checking pH. Checking the Aw, use of low and high temperatures, packaging and protective atmospheres. Other technological interventions that impact microorganisms: treatment with ionized radiation. Applications of high pressure and electric pulses. Food additives.
Jay J.M., Loessner M.J., Golden D. A., Microbiologia degli alimenti, Springer (2009).
Galli Volonterio A., Microbiologia degli alimenti, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana (2005).