BF0604 - Investigative Microbiology


Food spoilage is a serious problem for the food processor as well as the food retailer and the consumer. This module offers the opportunity to investigate a specific aspect of food spoilage concerning contamination of commercially available fruit juices by various strains of yeast. The investigation will take into account nutritional content of the juices, any additives used in their production and various storage conditions of the food product. Assessment takes the form of a practical investigation of a spoilage problem.


Frazier, W.G., Westerhoff, D.C. - Food Microbioogy McGraw Hill (most recent edition)

Skinner, F.A., Passmore S.M. Davenport, R.R. Biology - Activity of Yeasts Academic Press. (most recent edition)

Parry, T J and Pawsey R K - Principles of Microbiology for Students of Food Technology Hutchinson. (most recent edition)

Barnett, J A, Payne, R W, Yarrow D, - Yeasts: Characteristics and Identification. Cambridge University Press (most recent edition)


All exercises will use various (non pathogenic) yeast strains which are typical microbial agents in food spoilage and can be used safely in open student laboratories.

- Introduction to yeast and yeast morphology including physiology
- Yeast identification via microscope and plating methodologies
- The consequences of yeast spoilage
- The use of various media types for microbial spoilage identification
- Growth inhibitors (preservatives) and promoters of yeast growth

Adulteration of food products with various species of yeasts. Yeast growth will be monitored using microscopical and plating methodologies.


1 To provide students with knowledge and to develop their understanding of agents of food spoilage and the processes, practices and additives designed to control them.

2 To enable the understanding of morphology classification and behaviour of specific food contaminating organisms e.g. yeasts.

3 To develop specialised microbiological techniques in the laboratory.

4 To develop an understanding of scientifically correct investigative methodologies


1 Describe the nature of the agents of food spoilage and explain how they can be controlled.

2 Perform microbiological techniques and procedures to evaluate spoilage problems.

3 Relate yeast morphology to problem solving in the food industry by use of forensic methodology.

4 Communicate verbally and in writing experimental findings in the form of seminars and laboratory reports.

5 Evaluate a variety of information from lectures, laboratory practicals, discussions, and library resources.


Skills for Life Sciences (BF0408) at Level 4 or appropriate pre-course guided reading.






The module will begin with a series of lectures and deal with the basic theoretical principles of investigation and also on the physiology and growth of the yeast species involved in the investigation. The remainder of the module involves lab based practical sessions, where the actual investigation is carried out and where the lecture material is put into relevant practical context.


a Summative assessment and rationale for tasks
Assessment is by written coursework assignment (90% - included in this is a mark for the initial investigative proposal), and as the module is a practical module based in the lab, there is also a mark for individual students’ laboratory based skills worth 10%. The combination of these assessments will test whether students can integrate practical work with the application of knowledge to an applied microbiological problem.

b. Additional formative assessment – detail of process and rationale
A presentation of the results from the practical investigation will be held in week 10 of the course, the session allows formative assessment and feedback which will help the students when they come to the formal write up of the investigation.

c. Indication of how students will get feedback and how this will support their learning
Feedback is given via tutorials and in the practical classes, oral feedback is also given during the presentation of investigative proposal rationale. Written feedback will be provided on summative assessment.



Course info

Credits 10

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 36 months

Location Singapore

City Singapore

Start November or April

Fee Information

Module Information

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