Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse – Københavns Universitet

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Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse

Quantitative Bio-spectroscopy

Practical information
Study year 2016/2017
Block 2
Programme level Full Degree Master
Course responsibles
  • Nanna Viereck (3-72657a446a737368326f7932686f)
  • Søren Balling Engelsen (2-76684369727267316e7831676e)
  • Department of Food Science
Course number: NFOK14025U

Course content

Spectroscopic measurement techniques have a number of advantages to classic chemical and chromatographic measurement techniques:

  • Rapid (can be used to monitor process dynamics and an advantage for Quality Control (QC) logistics)
  • Non-destructive (facilitate measurements on intact sample structures and a requirement for on-line measurements)
  • Environmentally friendly (no use of chemicals and no harm to the environment)
  • Multivariate (exploit first order data advantage and gives the possibility of measuring several quality parameters simultaneously)
  • Remote (allow for volumetric measurements and 'through packaging' measurements)

The Danish food, pharma and biotech industries have in recent years shown a steadily increased interest in developing and adapting spectroscopic measurement techniques for on-line monitoring of their processes in real time. The advantages of using non-destructive spectroscopic measurement techniques may give significant improvements in raw material grading, product and process knowledge, quality and safety and have recently been endorsed by the FDA for use in the pharmaceutical industry as 'Process Analytical Technologies, PAT'. It is therefore almost certain that future food, pharma and biotech candidates will find themselves with problems that best can be solved by using spectral sensors. The spectral sensors can also in the food process industry as well as in food legislation bureaus.

Through lectures and laboratory exercises, the course will introduce the students to the most widely used spectroscopic techniques spanning a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum including visual (VIS), fluorescence, near infrared (NIR), infrared (IR), Raman and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

Course relevance
The course is of prime importance to the food, pharma and biotech candidate education as on-line process monitoring becomes more and more widespread in the advanced segment of the industry and because spectroscopy constitutes a new efficient tool for investigating biological processes in humans and plants.

Learning outcome

The main objective of this course is to make the student familiar with the basic concepts and physics of the most abundant non-destructive spectroscopic techniques utilized for on- or at-line process monitoring and quality control in the modern food, pharma or biotech-industry. The course is designed to give the student basic theoretical background and hands-on experience with fluorescence, VIS, NIR, IR, Raman and NMR spectroscopy. The course will emphasize practical use of spectroscopy and discuss problems, pitfalls and tricks of the trade in relation to quantitative use of spectroscopy including for example spectroscopic calibration and optimal sample presentation to spectrometer.

After completing the course the student should be able to:


  • Reflect about advantages and disadvantages of spectroscopic measurements
  • Describe various spectroscopic methods (electron spectroscopy, vibrational spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance)
  • Define how to present a theoretical or practical spectroscopic result
  • Perform spectroscopic measurements and data analysis (qualitatively and quantitatively) on selected biological mixture problems



  • Suggest and apply spectroscopic monitoring equipment and sampling to solve specific problems
  • Operate selected spectroscopic equipment and application to complex biological material
  • Understand and communicate spectroscopic expert and research literature to fellow students


  • Carry out selected spectroscopic measurements on complex biological samples
  • Interpret selected spectroscopic data from biological samples
  • Evaluate spectroscopic data quantitatively with basic chemometrics (PCA and PLS)

Recommended prerequisites

Competences corresponding to Exploratory Data Analysis / Chemometrics

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MSc Programme in Food Science and Technology
MSc Programme in Biology-Biotechnology
MSc Programme in Animal Derived Foods


Study Board of Food, Human Nutrition and Sports

Course type

Single subject courses (day)


1 block


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Teaching and learning methods

The course will be taught in a combination of lectures, theoretical exercises and practical laboratory exercises. The different spectral measurement techniques will be taught through lectures and examples on specific applications in the industry via selected guest lecturers. The laboratory exercises will be performed in small groups of maximum four students. Each group of students will be assigned a quantitative sample series using a mixture of complex substances of biological origin to be investigated. The data has to be evaluated and presented in a written group report followed by an oral examination.






See Absalon for specific course literature.


Category Hours
Lectures 25
Preparation 35
Theory exercises 40
Practical exercises 40
Project work 65
Exam 1
English 206


Type of assessment

Written assignment, during course
Oral examination, 20 min
The students will be evaluated on basis of a written group report with clear indication of individual contributions (50%) and a following final individual oral examination based on a presentation and discussion of the report and the course curriculum (50%).

Weight: Project report 50%, Oral examination 50%.


All aids allowed

Marking scale

7-point grading scale

Criteria for exam assessment

Cf. Learning Outcome

Censorship form

No external censorship
More than one internal examiner


Possibility to re-submit missing theoretical exercises and group report two weeks before the re-examination, otherwise same as ordinary exam.


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