Microbiology of Fermented Food and Beverages

Course content

The course have major focus on the microorganisms involved in the processing of various fermented foods and beverages. The course include the taxonomy of important microorganisms especially lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeasts including both phenotypic characteristics and molecular typing techniques for their identification as well as innovative technologies to improve fermented foods and beverages.

Methods for isolation will be covered, including both culture dependent and culture independent techniques. This will include techniques such as high-throughput sequencing as well as various tools for bioinformatics.

Various fermentation techniques is introduced covering the use of starter cultures and other fermentation techniques such as back-slopping. Further, the role of fermentation in sustainable food production and in prevention of food waste will be discussed.

An introduction to various fermented foods and beverages will be given including products such as cheese, bread, wine and beer as well as a number of traditional indigenous fermented foods. Focus will additionally be on microbial interactions including topics such as quorum sensing, bacteriocin formation, etc.


MSc Programme in Food Science and Technology
MSc Programme in Food Innovation and Health

Learning outcome

The objective of the course is to give the students a thorough knowledge on the microbiology behind production of fermented food and beverages and to give the students skills within isolation and identification of microorganisms occurring in these products. Additionally the students will be able to evaluate the functionalities and applications of microbial starter cultures.


  • Microbiology in general and more specifically on the taxonomy of important groups of microorganisms identified from fermented food and beverages
  • Microbial taxonomic systems
  • Molecular techniques for identification and typing
  • Microbial physiology
  • Functionalities of different microorganisms in fermented food and beverages produced world-wide
  • Microbial interactions 



  • Development of procedures and plans for isolation and identification of the predominant microorganisms in fermented food and beverages
  • Ability to explain at the molecular level the behaviour and interaction between various groups of microorganisms
  • Ability to identify the most important parameters leading to optimal product quality and food safety
  • Applying food fermentation to develop innovative food products



  • Isolation of microorganisms from different types of fermented food and beverages
  • Evaluation of the composition of the microbiota of fermented food and beverages
  • Identification of the predominant microorganisms by both phenotypic and genotypic methods
  • Description of presumed functionalities of microorganisms in fermented food or beverages

Lectures, theoretical and laboratory practicals. The lectures will introduce issues of importance for the understanding of microbial behaviour during production of fermented food and beverages. The theoretical and laboratory practicals will give the students practice on how to identify various microorganisms from fermented food and beverages including skills within various molecular techniques. Knowledge on food innovation will be obtained through theoretical exercises.

See Absalon for a list of course literature.

Basic knowledge on food microbiology is required. Laboratory experience with microbiology is an advantage though not a specific requirement.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min
Written assignment, during course
The students will hand in a report based on a theoretical topic and experimental results obtained during the practicals. At the time of the oral examination, one question is drawn, and the examination proceeds without preparation time. Two weeks before the exam the questions will be given to the students. At the oral exam, the drawn question and the curriculum will account for 75% of the grade. The written report and the discussion of the report will account for 25% of the grade.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Several internal examiners and one external examiner.
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 27
  • Preparation
  • 116
  • Theory exercises
  • 21
  • Practical exercises
  • 41
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206