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    The fundamentals of food microbiology and its importance to the community; food preservation; food allergies; food-borne infections; the microbiological analysis of foods including data interpretation.

    Food production is New Zealand's biggest commercial operation. Its success is dependent on the consistent delivery of high quality products. Consistently delivering high-quality food requires: an in-depth knowledge of the microflora associated with each product, the application of systems designed to inhibit the growth of pathogenic and food spoilage organisms, and the ability to identify unsatisfactory product. Currently in New Zealand there is a shortage of experienced food microbiologists.

    About this paper

    Paper title Food Microbiology
    Subject Microbiology
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    MICR 221
    Schedule C
    Appropriate for students studying Microbiology, Food Science, Health Sciences, Human Nutrition or Public Health.

    Teaching staff

    Convenor: Dr Daniel Pletzer

    Other Lecturers: Professor Phil Bremer and Professor Roslyn Kemp

    Paper Structure

    Lectures address the following issues:

    • What pathogenic microorganisms may be present in food
    • Food intolerance and food allergies
    • What technologies are available to limit the growth of microorganisms in food
    • What management options are available to keep our food supply chain safe
    • What technologies are available to detect microbes in food

    These concepts are further explored in laboratory exercises.


    • A hazard and assessment (HACCP) plan presentation - 10%
    • Weekly lab quizzes - 10%
    • Laboratory skills test - 10%
    • Final exam 70%
    Teaching Arrangements
    There are two lectures per week for all weeks of the first semester. There may be two laboratory sessions per week, with each laboratory session divided into two streams to create timetable flexibility for students. Students can leave labs to attend lectures if required. The laboratory classes run in weeks 9-12 of the first semester.

    Textbooks are not required for this paper.
    There are excellent web-based resources, and the University Science Library has an extensive collection of relevant material.

    Course outline

    Contact the course convenor for a course outline.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Research, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will:

    • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of food microbiology and the technology used to ensure food safety and quality
    • Demonstrate the ability to apply that knowledge in laboratory exercises and case studies


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Wednesday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-22
    Friday 11:00-11:50 9-12, 15-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A1 Monday 14:00-17:50 18-21
    Tuesday 09:00-17:50 18-21
    Wednesday 09:00-09:50 18-21
    A2 Monday 14:00-17:50 18-21
    Tuesday 09:00-17:50 18-21
    Wednesday 10:00-10:50 18-21
    A3 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 18-21
    Thursday 09:00-17:50 18-21
    Friday 09:00-09:50 18-21
    A4 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 18-21
    Thursday 09:00-17:50 18-21
    Friday 10:00-10:50 18-21
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