Control of Foodborne Microorganisms

Course content

Avoiding microbial spoilage and ensuring food safety is neccessary in food processing and storage in order to avoid waste and optimize our use of resources as well as to maintain our health. Whether the goal is to create more sustainable products, introduce new technologies, raw materials or recipes, reuse processing water etc., it is neccesary to understand the microbiological implications of this.

This course has special focus on microbiological safety and quality and the interaction with food processing and preservation. It deals with qualitative and quantitative effects of physical and chemical preservation principles on microbial cells and populations and provides examples of the tools and programmes currently available for predictions of growth and inactivation. The role of selection, injury, and adaptation in microrganisms is discussed as well as sampling strategies. The application of these qualitative and quantitative aspects in HACCP and design of safe processes is included. If needed, there will be an initial brush-up on major foodborne pathogens, toxins and common spoilage microorganisms as well as central food hygiene issues.  


MSc Programme in Food Science and Technology
MSc Programme in Biochemistry

Learning outcome

The course has relevance to everyone interested in food processing and microbial food safety and quality assurance.

The aim of the course is to provide the students with knowledge on hygiene and effect of preservation processes incl. packaging and storage on microbiological quality and safety assurance in order for them to apply this in the design of safe food processes and products including setting up HACCP programmes. 

Upon completion the students should be able to: 


  • Identify and characterize the major microbiological hazards in food productions 
  • Describe the common preservation principles 
  • Describe commonly used monitoring, sampling and detection methods 
  • Explain the general microbiological response to different preservation stresses 
  • Have insight in the elements and tools in predictive microbiology 
  • Have an overview of the role of hygiene in food safety and spoilage incl. contamination routes and intervention strategies


  • Explain the interaction between preservation principles, processing strategies and their impact on microbiological safety and quality 
  • Apply this knowledge in HACCP programmes for specific food productions  


  • Evaluate or develop HACCP-based microbiological safety assurance programmes 
  • Investigate and predict microbiological safety and quality problems 
  • Evaluate basic food hygiene programmes from the processing steps to the consumer 
  • Communicate the scientific background to peer groups

Lectures, theoretical exercises, seminars, and project work. The lectures introduce different aspects of food preservation microbiology and the impact on microbiological quality and safety. The exercises, seminars, and project work will help the students to familiarize themselves with principles and methods as well as to discuss and communicate the science both orally and in writing.

See Absalon for a list of course literature. 

Reviews and scientific papers will be used.

For basic background knowledge, most updated Food Microbiology books can be used.

Basic knowledge in food microbiology, food technology and skills in quality assurance incl. HACCP is assumed.

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, 30 min
Written assignment, during course
Project report and an oral presentation and examination in the project report and other aspects of the course.
The individual project topics are decided during the last part of the course.
The individual report (count: 50 % of the grade) is used as basis for the oral exam (count: 50 % of the grade). Students are given one joint grade.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 24
  • Class Instruction
  • 16
  • Preparation
  • 48
  • Theory exercises
  • 14
  • Project work
  • 99
  • Guidance
  • 4
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 2
Study Board of Food, Human Nutrition and Sports
Contracting department
  • Department of Food Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinators
  • Susanne Knøchel   (3-797174466c75756a34717b346a71)
  • Henrik Siegumfeldt   (6-776d696b7971446a737368326f7932686f)
Saved on the 01-03-2021

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students