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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Syllabus for

Academic year
KLI021 - Food microbiology
Syllabus adopted 2020-02-19 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPBIO
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Pass with distinction (5), Pass with credit (4), Pass (3), Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Bioengineering

Teaching language: English
Application code: 08116
Open for exchange students: Yes
Maximum participants: 30

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0104 Examination 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c   18 Mar 2021 am J,  09 Jun 2021 pm J,  26 Aug 2021 pm J

In programs

MPBIO BIOTECHNOLOGY, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)


Thomas Andlid

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General entry requirements for Master's level (second cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

English 6 (or by other approved means with the equivalent proficiency level)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

Undergraduate profile (BSc) with courses in chemistry, including inorganic, physical and organic chemistry; and biochemistry.


Microbiology is the science of very small organisms. These affect us, as well as the state of the planet, in a number of ways. Some microbial activities are in the human perspective bad such as disease and spoilage of foods, but most are good such as degradation and cycling of matter (nutrients) in nature, and in production of many types of foods. The course aims at providing fundamental knowledge in general microbiology, which is necessary for the more specific part of the course which targets applied food microbiology. Microbes in foods affect us in primarily three ways: (1) spoilage/preservation, (2) spreading of disease via foodborne pathogens and (3) production of food by fermenting organisms. The course focuses mostly on the first two aspects whereas the third (food fermentation) is mainly covered by the course Food biotechnology and bioactivity assessment (KLI065). The course covers how the environment of different foods affect the microbial presence of spoilage and disease caursing microbes, the most important spoilage microbes and food pathogens as well as detection, quantification and adhesion. The intention is to introduce a microbiological thinking in e.g. physiology, ecology, genetics and learn about food relevant bacteria, yeasts and moulds. In addition, the course includes practical exercises such as fundamental aseptic handling, investigations of microorganisms in the surroundings, in specific foods, microscopy and culturing.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • Know and describe main features of main groups of microorganisms relevant for the course; understand present view on domains of life and principles behind measuring phylogenetic relations.
  • Describe the structure and differences of prokaryote and eukaryotes cells, and understand fundamental functions of organelles and cell structures (such as membrane, flagella and capsule).
  • Understand and practically apply fundamental techniques including sterility techniques, cultivation, enrichment and determination of cell concentration.
  • Understand conventional and modern techniques for rapid detection of food borne pathogens.
  • Be familiar with the main food pathogens, their natural habitats and basic understanding of virulence and foodborne disease
  • Understand basic mathematics of microbial population growth, including growth rate and generation time calculation as well as understand phases of growth.
  • Understand fundamental microbial nutrition and the impact of environmental factors such as temperature, water activity, pH etc on microbial growth in food.
  • Show fundamental knowledge on mycelia fungi (moulds) including mycotoxins
  • Describe the microbiology of different types of foods such as meat, milk and fish, and understand factors affecting growth in each
  • Understand principles around hygienic design (HACCP).
  • Show insight and knowledge about various aspects of yeasts, including some ecology, types of yeasts, pathogenic yeasts, model yeasts, probiotic yeasts, and more.
  • Describe the fundamentals of preservation and heat treatment including calculation of death rate.
  • Understand and describe microbial adhesion and biofilms; involved forces, type of adhesion, mechanisms, important structures and relevance in nature and in food handling. 


1. Introduction to microbiology, main groups, phylogeny, structure and function
2. Basic methodology and microbial techniques
3. Techniques for detection of food borne pathogens
4. Techniques for quantification of bacteria in food
5. Foodborne disease and main pathogens involved
6. Nutrition, growth and cultivation
7. Mycelia fungi plus mycotoxins
8. Microbiology of foods
9. HACCP, hygienic design
10. Metabolism, with special emphasis on food microbes
11. Yeasts - various aspects of
12. Important food pathogens
13. Preservation/heat treatment
14. Adhesion and biofilms - mechanism and impact


The course is organized as traditional lectures plus compulsory laboratory exercises. Lectures are given by at least four different lecturers from the industry and academy.


The course text book is “Food Microbiology” by Adams and Moss (available as e-book by Chalmers library). In addition a selection of articles and out-takes from different books will be distributed during the course

Examination including compulsory elements

All laboratory exercises are compulsory. A written laboratory report for each lab practical must be accepted by the teachers to pass the course.

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.