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 and the reference material will not change. 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. -The 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.
Lessons will be held on the Microsoft Teams platform and can be followed both synchronously on the basis of the timetable and asynchronously because will be registered and uploaded for students on the Ariel platform. The methods and criteria for participating in face-to-face meetings, which provide for a reservation with a special app, will be published on time in Ariel, as well as all the above material and notices relating to any course update related to the evolution of the legislation imposed by COVID-19. The part related to laboratory practices will be carried out, compatibly with the regulations in force at the moment, both in presence in the laboratory by applying the rules of social distancing developed, as well as through the use of specially created videos.
The program and the reference material will not change. Slides and books are available on the Ariel platform. The professor is available for questions and further clarifications by appointment
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam will take place orally using the Microsoft Teams or Skype platforms. The evaluation parameters include the assessment of the skills acquired, the capacity for critical reasoning, the quality of exposure, as well as the competence to use specific scientific terms.