The course aims to provide the basic knowledge of the microbial world, in order toaddress subsequent microbiological and related disciplines, and to deepen the main microbial groups involved in the production, transformation, preservation and consumption of food.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will acquire skills on the physiological, biochemical and genetic characteristics of microorganisms; understanding of the role of microorganisms in the agri-food sector; ability to organize and set up laboratory tests to isolate, identify and select specific microorganisms.
Lesson period: First semester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
The program involves the presentation and discussion of the following topics. -The microbial world and its members. Prokaryotes: cell structure and function and comparison with the more complex eukaryotic cell. - Morphology of bacteria, molds and yeasts (regarding their reproduction). -Microbial nutrition: carbon and nitrogen sources, growth factors. Cultural requirements: effect of temperature, pH, water availability and oxygen on microbial growth. -Metabolism: catabolism and anabolism. The most important ways of energy generation: aerobic and anaerobic respiration, fermentation. The mechanisms of energy-linked transport of nutrients into the cell -Microscopy: phase contrast microscope, magnification and resolution, sample preparation, staining procedures. -The sterility concept and sterilization (heat, radiation, filter sterilization) -Laboratory culture of microorganisms: isolation techniques for the obtainment of pure cultures, maintainment conditions, liquid, semi-solid or solid culture media, classes of culture media (chemically defined, complex, selective) and their preparation. -The expression of bacterial growth. Growth curve and its construction. Measurement of growth (viable count, dilutions, direct microscopic counting procedure, measurement of cell mass and turbidity) -Viruses and bacteriophages. General properties, replication cycle, lysogeny, temperate bacteriophages. -Genetic recombination (transformation, transduction and conjugation), molecular basis of mutation. -Microbial evolution and taxonomy: genus, species and strain concept. Microbial identification: phenotypic and genotypic analyses. -TThe main bacterial groups involved in food production and storage. Classification and identification of yeasts and molds involved in food sector.
Prerequisites for admission
To adequately address the contents of the course, the student must have the basic knowledge related to general chemistry, biology and biochemistry.
The teacher uses lectures and individual laboratory training
Slides and books are available on Ariel web platform. The professor is available for questions and further clarifications by appointment
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam is organized in a oral test. The evaluation parameters include the assessment of the skills acquired, the capacity for critical reasoning, the quality of exposure and the use of specialized vocabulary.