Food Microbiology and Safety

Subject FOOD20006 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty-six hours of lectures and 36 hours practical, and demonstrations.
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment (including non-contact time): 216 hours.
Prerequisites: N/A
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: N/A
Recommended Background Knowledge: N/A
Non Allowed Subjects: N/A
Core Participation Requirements:

Students are expected to be familiar with word processing, data management and graphical software packages and to be competent in electronic search techniques.

This subject requires attendance at lectures and active participation in practicals and tutorials.

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr David Tribe


Melbourne School of Land & Environment Student Centre
Ground Floor, Land & Food Resources (building 142)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

Microbes (viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites and other agents) can be associated with food in several ways:

  • as components of the fermentation processes that are associated with the development of flavours and textures of food and its preservation
  • as the normal microflora that is associated with the origins of the food and persist during storage, possibly contributing to food spoilage
  • as contaminants that enter food during processing or through subsequent mishandling, often posing public health risks.

However, as foods must be safe and fit for human consumption, this subject aims to familiarise students with major food spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms.

The content will cover:

  • the kinetics of bacterial growth and the factors that may alter this (water activity, low pH, temperature, preservatives),
  • the principles of modelling growth
  • the principles of hazard and risk assessment in microbiological safety
  • the role of microbes in food processing, including examples of specific fermentation processes and waste treatment.
Practical exercises and case studies will be undertaken to provide an in-depth understanding of the regulatory framework of food safety.

On completion of the subject students should be able to:

  • describe concepts of normal flora and pathogenic microbes
  • understand how microbes interact and impact on food
  • understand the basics of identifying, classifying and enumerating microbes important in agri-food systems
  • use bright field light microscopy as a tool for identifying microbes
  • use aseptic techniques for the transfer and handling enumerating and identifying microorganisms in food samples.

Five practical reports (20%); five online tests (20%), assignment (20%) and one 2-hour examination (40%).

Practical classes: Students must attend the safety briefing to be permitted to participate in the practical classes. There will be six practical exercises that take two weeks each to complete. Attendance at all practical classes is essential. Students will be required to write a report on each practical exerciese. The first report will not be credited any marks, it is for feedback only. The remaining five reports will be worth a total of 20%. The reports should be submitted at the beginning of the practical class on the due date.

Online tests: Ongoing assessment will be in the form of online tests delivered via the subject's LMS site. The tests will be accessible for 24 hours each. The first test (test 0) will not be credited with any marks. It is a trial run to ensure students know how to access and complete the tests. Each test will cover topics discussed in lectures in the two weeks leading up to the tests.

Assignment: Each student will be assigned a case study to research for a written assignment.

End of semester exam: 40%. the end of semester exam will examine the whole course.

Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:

Food Microbiology: a laboratory manual by Ahmed Elmeleigy Yousef, Carolyn Carlstrom;

Fundamental Food Microbiology by Bibek Ray and Arun Bhunia


Food Microbiology by Martin R Adams and Maurice O Moss, 3rd edition


Essentials of Food Microbiology by John Garbutt

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • enhanced skills in preparing reports based on practical experience
  • ability to analyse and integrate information from published and publicly available literature
  • teamwork capability for completion of case study tasks in a timely fashion.
Notes: This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc (new degree only).
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Science

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