Course Title: Microbial Evaluation of Food

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Microbial Evaluation of Food

Credit Points: 24.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2015

Course Coordinator: Mrs Prudence M Bramwell

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 99257128

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 223.1.48 Bundoora west campus

Course Coordinator Availability: by email appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Prerequisite capabilities are undergraduate general microbiology to second year level or equivalent ensuring knowledge, understanding, and practice of general microbiology

Course Description

This is an advanced microbiology course. The course extends your understanding of microbiology to the analysis and evaluation of the microbiology of food and food producing environments by traditional and modern methods.

The focus is on the detection and quantification of micro-organisms in relation to national and international food regulations and microbiological quality control.

A major part of the practicals mimics the workplace of a food microbiology laboratory, while the lecture series provide the theoretical background to this training.

The course prepares you for a career in analytical food microbiology and develops your understanding of modern food microbiology methods and their application in industry, analytical laboratories, epidemiological surveys and quality assurance

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development
The course addresses the following Program Learning Outcomes (PLO) at AQF level 9:
PLO 1. Understanding Science
1.1 You will demonstrate an advanced understanding of biological sciences by articulating the methods of science, explaining why current biological knowledge is both contestable and testable through further inquiry, and explaining the role and relevance of biotechnology in society.
1.2 You will have an understanding of recent developments in a specialised area of biotechnology. You will develop an in-depth knowledge of the specialist field of food microbiology, specifically bacterial foodborne disease and food spoilage in a quality assured framework, complemented with the development of technical capability in handling, examining, isolating and identifying bacteria.

PLO 2. Advanced knowledge and skills to critically analyse and solve problems in biotechnology.
2.1 You will demonstrate cognitive skills in mastery of advanced theoretical knowledge in biotechnology and apply this knowledge to solve complex problems in existing and new areas. These skills will develop your research capability by problem solving, in participating in problem-based laboratory exercises, weekly quizzes and literature research tasks.. To further your reflective capability - in applying knowledge of food microbiology, you will examine food outbreak information and design an investigation of a food for microbial quality and safety in order to reach a diagnosis.

PLO 4. Communication
4.1 You will be able to effectively communicate concepts of biotechnology to specialist and non-specialist audiences, using a variety of presentation modes. In this course you will develop communication skills in working groups in laboratory exercises, presenting material for laboratory reports and participating in class discussions, presenting scientific material orally to peers.

PLO 5. Personal and professional responsibility.
5.1 You will be accountable for individual learning and scientific work by being an independent and self-directed learner; working effectively, responsibly, ethically, and safely in an individual and team context; and demonstrating knowledge of the regulatory frameworks and ethical principles relevant to biotechnology.

You will employ professional work practices in learning to consider diagnostic issues such as cost effectiveness, workflow and compliance with regulatory requirements, you will use sustainable organisational management and quality management in understanding correct handling and disposal of biological materials and maintaining a high standard of ethics and industry confidentiality .

By the completion of this course you will be able to:

  1. Choose a method to evaluate the total microbial population of food.
  2. Recognise indicator organisms.
  3. Understand the Australian Standard methods and apply this in practical situations.
  4. Critically analyse rapid /modern methods in the microbial analysis of food, including biochemical, immunological, molecular, and electrical methods.
  5. Evaluate the effectiveness of hygiene and sanitation of a food producing environment.
  6. Use epidemiological methods used to track microbes important in the food industry.
  7. Apply quality assurance processes and strategies for implementation of relevant regulations and legislation in analytical laboratories..
  8. Evaluate and validate new methodology as a team.
  9. Interpret shelf-life and challenge studies.
  10. Research appropriate literature, critically evaluate it and communicate its knowledge for the development of responsive and integrated practice.
  11. Work cooperatively in small groups of peers on an assigned project to solve a problem.
  12. Undertake independent learning and communicate it for the benefit of all participants.
  13. Prepare and present seminars.

Overview of Learning Activities

Weekly lectures and tutorials and a series of practical classes that will be run on 6 days during the semester. Dates will be advised before the start of semester. The normal modes of teaching will be about three hours of lectures per week and two hours of tutorials.

Quizzes; cover theory and practical material.

Written assessment: 2 written laboratory reports and

Final theory exam.

Oral assessment: seminar presentation relating to 2 assignments.

Attendance and participation in practicals and practical notebook are also assessed.

Overview of Learning Resources

As this course is at the postgraduate level, there are no prescribed texts. There are recommended texts and you will be referred to relevant literature for each topic that you will be expected to use.

An online Analytical Food Microbiology Tutorial will be available via the learning hub.

Overview of Assessment

Work will be assessed separately by a:

  • 3 hour examination (PLO1) 50%,
  • weekly pre-lecture or online tests 15% (PLO1),
  • 2 written laboratory reports, attendance and participation in practical classes,
  • practical notes 20% (PLO 1,2,4 and 5) and
  • 2 assignments involving self-directed work to solve a problem and present this in a seminar 15% (PLO 1, 2, 4,5).