FBMM2A-Food Microbiology and Safety A

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: FBMM1 Food Microbiology and FBMM2B Food Microbiology and Safety B
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Gemma Walton

Email: g.e.walton@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
In the Autumn Term the fundamentals of microbiology are considered with a focus on aspects linked to the role of microorganisms in food and health. Topics covered include (a) the study of bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and prions, (b) the importance of microorganisms to food production, food spoilage, and foodborne illness, and (c) the role of the gut bacteria on human health and strategies to manipulate this intestinal community. This module will provide both practical and theoretical training, by combining practical classes and lectures.
In the Spring Term, the main topics considered in detail are: (a) the use of HACCP as a quality management system in the food supply system, (b) the use of microbiological sampling plans in food quality assurance. In addition a number of supporting lectures are given to provide a broad overview of the issues covered in the module.

• To deliver basic information on the nature of microorganisms and food-borne diseases and their significance to the food industry and society.
• To provide details of how microbes are used within the food industry.
• To provide practical experience of working with microorganisms in the laboratory.
• To develop and understanding of the ecologies of the microbes and relate the ecologies to approaches used in the control of food spoilage and of food-borne illness.
• To develop an understanding of the main elements of microbiological quality assurance for the supply, manufacture and distribution of safe food for consumers.

Assessable learning outcomes:
At successful completion of the module the student should be able to:
• Describe the basic properties of bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa and prions
• Identify an organism as a bacterium, yeast or mould in the laboratory
• Select appropriate method(s) for assessing the microbial flora of foods
• Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of microorganisms to the food industry
• Evaluate the results of microbiological tests in relation to the nature of the food and its previous history
• Describe the effects of environmental conditions on microbial growth and food spoilage
• Describe methods of food preservation
• Describe measures for the control of food poisoning bacteria
• Evaluate the importance of the gut microbiota to the mammalian host
• Participate in the establishment of HACCP-based quality assurance systems
• Assess and apply appropriate microbiological sampling plans
• Apply modern molecular methods for the detection and characterisation of microorganisms.

Additional outcomes:
Students will develop skills in: making accurate observations; correctly recording procedures; interpreting observations and data; effective verbal and written communication; working in a team or group working; laboratory techniques.

Outline content:
In the Autumn Term, topics include:
• Properties of biological systems; morphology, structure and function of bacteria, fungi and viruses; cultivation of microorganisms.
• Factors affecting microbial growth; microbial metabolism; effects of environment on microbial growth.
• Assessment of microbial floras of foods; direct and indirect methods; total and viable counts; biomass and activity determinations; selection of appropriate method.
• Ecology of food-borne diseases; food intoxications; food infections.
• Microorganisms and food fermentation.
• Microbiology of food spoilage; implicated microorganisms; prevention and control of food spoilage; hygiene, good manufacturing practice; food preservation; predictive microbiology.
• Ecology of gut bacteria and implications for human health and disease; application of pre- and probiotics to manipulate this indigenous population.

In the Spring Term, topics include:
• Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points: undertaking an HACCP analysis;
• Microbiological Sampling Plans: consideration of the development and use of appropriate microbiological standards and sampling plans;
• Molecular microbial detection methods: DNA isolation and purification; DNA amplification; analysis techniques (including gel electrophoresis and molecular probing strategies).
• The application of molecular detection assays in food microbiology

Global context:
The issues covered in this module have international application as the different components will be relevant and can be applied in the food industry in any country in the world.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 15
Seminars 6
Tutorials 2 2
Practicals classes and workshops 16 12
Guided independent study 42 45 40
Total hours by term 80.00 80.00 40.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Written assignment including essay 15
Report 20
Practical skills assessment 5

Summative assessment- Examinations:
3 hours

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Assessment schedule:

  • Autumn Term Laboratory Notebook: the practical notebook consists of questions designed to promote inquiry-based learning and evaluation of class results. Practical answers to be submitted from weeks 6-11 (5%)

  • Assignment: submission at the end of week 13. (15%)

  • The HACCP Group Report accounts for 20% of the module mark and will be submitted during week 26 in the Spring Term.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment arrangements are in accordance with University policy. Reassessment of the written examination is held during the University administered re-examination period in August. Failed coursework may be re-assessed by an alternative assignment before or during the August re-examination period.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 12 December 2018


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