Course Title: Microbiology of Food Processing

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Microbiology of Food Processing

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

Course Coordinator: Dr Bee May

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3359

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Bundoora Campus, 201.06.06

Course Coordinator Availability: Please email to arrange a meeting time.

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

There are no enforced pre-requisite or co-requisite courses.


Assumed knowledge and capabilities are those skills developed in one or more undergraduate or postgraduate courses in microbiology.

Course Description

Microorganisms play a central role in the production, safety, quality and shelf-life of many food products. In addition, both consumers and manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits of microorganisms in foods. However, the role of microorganisms is very complex, with impacts on product quality and safety at many stages.


This course focuses on beneficial microorganisms such as lactic acid bacteria as well as microorganisms associated with food production that have a detrimental impact such as bacterial pathogens. We will also examine a limited range of fermented food products in depth, using a systems based approach that will consider raw material attributes, processing and finished product. The broad themes of this course include:

  • Keeping detrimental organisms associated with food production, in particular microbial pathogens, out of food.
  • Selecting the optimum conditions and substrates so that beneficial organisms produce the required primary or secondary metabolites.
  • Managing a personnel hygiene, cleaning and sanitation program including regulatory requirements and practical issues.


This course uses flipped classroom approach to design and deliver course learning outcomes by engaging students in active learning in a collegial environment. An important aspect of this course is its problem solving activity in which you will be given case studies or practical activities to solve. This activity will include researching into technical and scientific information, and using that information to identify and evaluate possible solutions.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Students will experience the processes involved and/or develop an understanding of:

  • CLO1: A working knowledge of regulatory and food hygiene practices in the food processing environment.
  • CLO2: The role of microorganisms in production, spoilage and safety of foods.
  • CLO3: How microorganisms metabolise substrates (in the presence or absence of oxygen) to obtain energy and to produce metabolites (primary and secondary) during processing.
  • CLO4: The growth conditions of microorganisms on a wide range of substrates (nutrients).
  • CLO5: Basic biochemistry on selected microorganism metabolism/fermentation to control processing conditions for the desired finished product quality.
  • CLO6: Selecting appropriate strains of lactic acid bacteria as a source of functional ingredients based on their primary and secondary metabolites.

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes at AQF Level 9 for:

  • MC237 – Master of Food Science and Technology.
  • PLO2: Advanced skills to critically analyse and solve problems in food science and technology.
  • PLO3: Application of knowledge and skills.
  • PLO4: Communication.
  • PLO5: Personal and professional responsibility.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will learn in this course by:

  • Exposing yourself to the new material before class.
  • Class time is to provide opportunities for interaction and to use higher order thinking skills.
  • Personal study where you will review lecture content, read the recommended texts, or view recommended videos, so that you come to class prepared to contribute.
  • Performing laboratory or pilot plant based activities where you will learn to identify problems and provide solutions in a report.
  • Undertaking independent research to find technical and scientific information to provide supporting evidence and justify your analysis of the problem and solution.

Total study hours:

Lecturer, tutor and demonstrator (face-to-face) guided learning activities: 48 hours

Student directed independent study activities: 72 hours

Overview of Learning Resources

Learning resources will be provided via RMIT Blackboard. Once you are enrolled, you will be able to access the Blackboard where the weekly study program will be provided.

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.


There will be no end-of-semester examination.


Assessment 1: Test

In this activity you will be assessed for your understanding of how to keep pathogens out of the products before, during and after processing.

Weighting: 30%

This assessment supports CLOs: 1 and 2


Assessment 2: Assignment/ practical report

You will develop a fermented product and monitor the microbial safety and shelf-life with explanation on the effect of processing conditions on the finished product.

Weighting: 40%

This assessment supports CLOs: 1 - 6


Assessment 3: Test

In this activity you will be assessed for your understanding of how to keep the good bacteria in the product; viable with optimum desired metabolites during processing.

Weighting: 30%

This assessment supports CLOs: 3 - 6