Food Microbiology


To gain an understanding of the different roles that microorganisms play in their multifactorial interaction with foodstuffs. Understand the basic transformations that microbers perform on food, namely their role in production of fermented food products and on the deterioration of foods. To understand why and how some microorganisms cause diseases in man when they are present in foods. To gain basic knowledge on patogenicity mechanisms related to foodborne microbes. To appreciate the importance of ecology in Food Microbiology. To critically evaluate the different methods available for detection and characterization of microorganisms present in foods.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

José Paulo Nunes de Sousa Sampaio


Weekly - 4

Total - 63

Teaching language



Approval at Microbiology B (practical and theoretical) or UC with equivalent program. Knowledge of basic concepts of microbiology. Microbial growth. General knowledge of large groups of microorganisms and their main characteristics.


Modern Food Microbiology. 2005. James M. Jay. Chapman & Hall, N.Y.


Two scientific papers to be selected during the course

Teaching method

Laboratory sessions in which the students perform a number os experiments based on written and previously discussed protocols. Lectures based on PowerPoint presentations (made available to the students in advance). Discussion sessions of the topics covered in the course. Discussion and resolution of exercises based on selected bibliography.

Evaluation method

Three 45 min, written and individual evaluations about all topics, including lab sessions, sheduled along the course. Final grade correspond to the arithmetic average of the three grades.

Subject matter

1. Historical perspective and objectives of Food Microbiology. 
2. Intrinsic and extrinsic parameters that affect microbial colonization of foods
3. Ecological concepts useful in Food Microbiology
4. Parameters that affect the colonization of foodstuffs by microorganisms
5. Fermented foods and beverages
6. Methods and concepts of food preservation
7. Principles and concepts of Food Safety and assessment of Food Quality
8. Assessment of microbial quality of water. Waterborne pathogens
9. Microbial deterioration of foods
10. Foodborne microbial diseases
11. Virulence mechanisms relevant in Food Microbiology


Programs where the course is taught: