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master degree course in FOOD SAFETY AND CONTROL

Course year 1
Teaching units Unit unico
Related or Additional Studies (lesson)
  • TAF: Supplementary compulsory subjects SSD: AGR/16 CFU: 5
Related or Additional Studies (laboratory)
  • TAF: Supplementary compulsory subjects SSD: AGR/16 CFU: 1
Teachers: Maria GULLO, Mattia Pia ARENA
Exam type written and oral together
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language Italiano
Contents download pdf download


Mattia Pia ARENA


The course aims to provide knowledge and skills necessary for learning fermentation processes and related microorganisms. These achievements are preparatory to address issue for developing controlled processes. The course also provides to students tools to deal with microbiological transformations to obtain food and drinks, under different technological conditions, such as artisanal production and availability of raw materials, in relation to specific geographic area.
At the end of "Microbiology of fermented products" course, the student should be able to:
- know main foods and beverages obtained by fermentations, the microbial groups of interest, the attributes of useful microorganisms, the importance of specific microbial species, the production criticisms and the processes.
For a more complete understanding of the training objectives, please refer to the section “Expected learning outcomes”.

Admission requirements

Knowledge of Biology of microorganisms / General Microbiology

Course contents

The course is dedicated to products obtained by microbial transformation.
The knowledge to be transferred is shown below.
- The main fermented foods and classification systems.
- The main groups of microorganisms of interest. Lactic acid bacteria, micrococcaceae, propionic bacteria, bifidobacteria, the genus Bacillus, yeasts and molds. Acetic bacteria and oxidative fermentations. (2 CFU; 16 hours).
- Criteria for the use of microorganisms in microbiology of fermented products.
- The selective pressure concept; indigenous microorganisms; the selection of microorganisms.
- Indigenous fermentations and selected fermentations. Starter cultures. The fermentations in purity condizions. The scalar fermentations. (1 CFU; 8 hours.
- Types of fermented foods / beverages from vegetable and animal origin.
Fermented vegetables: olives, cabbage, soy and derivatives; bread and other baked products: microbiology of sourdoughs; vinegar and non-alcoholic fermented drinks. Sake as a model of alcoholic beverage and scalar fermentation.
- Fermented meat products (fish and meat).
- Functional foods and beverages, including probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics. (2 CFU; 16 hours).
Laboratory training.
Set up of a starter culture and scaling up. Induction and monitoring fermentation. Isolation of indigenous microorganisms from a fermented food. Microbial culture manipulation techniques. Consultation of databases. Analysis of the data obtained. (1. CFU; 8 hours).
Changes in terms of time devoted to some topics will be evaluated from students feedback.

Teaching methods

The course is conducted through face-to-face lectures, mainly carried out by audiovisual tools (power point presentations; some topics will be addressed by integrating the presentations with scientific videos) and practical laboratory training, carried out in presence (rounds will be planned in function of the number of students). The course is conducted in Italian language. Attendance to lectures and laboratory training is not compulsory, but recommended. The starting dates of the laboratory training will be communicated by the teacher during the first week of lessons. It is mandatory to inform the teacher (within one week before the first laboratory training activity) the confirmation of participation (by email or verbal communication), in order to plan the rounds and the preparatory activities for carrying out the training. The teacher receives students by appointment for clarification; for appointment procedures, consult the teacher's web page.

Assessment methods

The examination will take place at the end of lessons, according to the official calendar of exam sessions. For each session, students who intend to attend the exam must register using the “EsseTre” platform. The exam consists of two activities. 1) Preparation of a written scientific report on a topic chosen by the student; 2) oral exam. The report must be send by email to the teacher at least 7 days before the oral exam (File format: pdf; File name: Surname_Report). The oral exam is carried out through an interview between the teacher and the student (duration: approximately 15-20 minutes). Generally, three questions will be proposed, with increasing degree of depth and on different topics of the program. About the verification of the laboratory training activities, the student can prepare a written report (to be sent together with the scientific report) on the activities carried out. In the absence of this report, one of the questions of the oral exam will concern aspects related to laboratory training activities. Evaluation indicators: Ability to use knowledge (25%). Ability to connect knowledge (25%). Mastery of scientific language (15%) Ability to discuss topics (20%). Ability to deepen and synthesis skills (15%). The vote is expressed in thirtieths. To pass the exam, it is necessary to reach the threshold of 18/30 (corresponding to a preparation that is likely to be sufficient in terms of content and language.

Learning outcomes

1. Knowledge and understanding

- To list and describe the main microbial groups of interest in microbiology of fermented products and the minimal attributes for the use of microorganisms.
- To describe fermentation processes for obtaining food and beverages.
- To describe the issues related to the production of fermented foods and beverages in relation to the degree of technology applied.

2. Applied knowledge and understanding
To know the main categories of fermented products and production criticisms.
To hypothesize the production of a fermented product starting from the choice of the organism to the design of a production system, defining the fundamental parameters bioprocess implementation.
To use correctly the scientific terminology.

3. Autonomy of judgment
To analyze and evaluate the main issues related to fermentations. To rework the knowledge learned and develop the ability to critically evaluate what has been learned.

4. Communication skills
Clearly communicate acquired knowledge and skills.
To use the appropriate scientific language, synthesize and effectively discuss topics, key concepts and links between topics.

5. Learning skills
Deepen the notions learned independently and master the scientific language.
Apply the knowledge and understanding skills acquired to undertake the knowledge of other microbial groups and fermentation processes.


Sulla pagina del portale DOLLY relativa al suddetto insegnamento è disponibile (nel rispetto dei diritti di autore) il materiale utilizzato dal Docente nel corso delle lezioni frontali e materiale di approfondimento.
Materiale fornito del docente (File Pdf relativo alle presentazioni in power point). Articoli scientifici Open sources selezionati dal Docente.
Materiale di approfondimento:
Libro: Wood B.J.B, Microbiology of fermented food. Blackie Academic and Professional, London 1998.
Libro: Steinkraus K.H. Handbook of indigenous fermented food. Marcel Dekker, Inc. New York 1996.