module specification

NU5003 - Food Science and Microbiology (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module title Food Science and Microbiology
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 300
230 hours Guided independent study
70 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 20%   Progress Tests (2)
Coursework 30%   Nutritional Analysis & Food Label Report (2000 words)
Coursework 25%   Food Microbiology Laboratory Report (1500 words)
In-Course Test 25%   Online assessment (3 x 20 minutes in-class tests)
Running in 2019/20

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

This module covers the major food groups, developing an understanding of the chemistry, biochemistry and physical properties of foods and food components in relation to the production, processing, preparation and consumption of foods, and the way food commodities may be manufactured, placing the food industry and food labelling in a nutritional context.   The module also focusses on how commodity groups are processed into foods and the effects on nutrients of processing and preservation. Food sustainability and current trends will be highlighted. The second section looks at the microbial world and how microorganisms could cause food spoilage, foodborne diseases as well as contribute towards preservation of our food.  The major microorganisms will be discussed, focusing on intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting their growth in food. Also how microorganisms are controlled through food preservation and food processing methods will be discussed in detail. In addition, the module contains a series of laboratory practicals that include the proximate analysis of foods (e.g. moisture, fat, protein),  measurement of food energy and basic food microbiology.
The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. This module aims to give students insight into the biochemistry of foods as key commodities and their manufacture and analysis of nutrient content and labelling. In addition how and why foods are processed, the effects of processing on nutrients and anti-nutrients,the principles of food spoilage and preservation, and hygiene and safety will be covered.  The module also seeks to develop competence in discussion and written work, encouraging clarity and scientific rigour; tools often used in many employment settings, which will facilitate progression to higher level modules.

Prior learning requirements

NU4005 (Human Nutrition)


The specified learning outcomes will be developed around a framework based on the following subject matter:

General properties of food components  LO 1
Chemical and physical characteristics of foods  LO 1
Principles of food analysis – chemical, physical  LO 1, 3
Nutrition and food processing  LO 2
Food labelling  LO 3, 4
Analyse the issues relating to the provision of food in the EU and elsewhere with respect to market forces, food safety, sustainability and government policies  LO 3, 6

Principles of quality assurance in the food industry and food chemical safety  LO 2, 3, 4

Microbial world, Factors affecting the growth of microorganisms  LO 4,
Food infection and intoxications, Traditional food preservation and processing methods, Emerging technologies in food preservation, Major groups of microorganisms causing food-borne diseases.  LO 4
Diet & gut flora   LO 5
Principles of food safety & hygiene  LO 4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The syllabus will be developed through lectures, tutorials/case studies and laboratory work. A significant amount of learning material will be made available through the University Weblearn. Students are to carry out proximate analysis and extended analysis of foods, prepare a food label that conforms to current legal requirements and write a report about this and the factors that affect the reliability of analytical data. Students will spend time preparing for and undertaking on-line assessments (30 hours) Students will be required to undertake further study in-depth on their own to develop their knowledge (100h).
Employability: students will develop their ability to collate and manipulate data using spreadsheets (Excel). Students will develop their ability to analyse strategies to manage food spoilage and food-borne diseases at home, care homes and hospitals and to establish a healthy diet.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

LO1. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of the chemistry and physics of foods

LO2. Demonstrate an understanding of food processing and the effects on nutrient content and anti-nutrients

LO3. Interpret food labels with respect to nutrition, ingredients and legal requirements,  and understand the principles of food analysis
LO4.  Demonstrate an understanding of the causes of food spoilage, food preservation, food-borne disease and strategies for prevention in relation to nutritional practice
LO5.  Demonstrate an understanding of the human microbiome and the influences of the diet

Assessment strategy

In the autumn semester, this module will be assessed by two web-based Progress tests (30 min each) covering syllabus topics such as food chemistry, processing, quality assurance and food safety (chemical), and submission of a Nutritional Analysis of Food Label report (2000 words) plus appropriate figures, tables and references.
The two web-based tests, each designed for 30 minutes, will be given in weeks 6 and 11. Each on-line test has a weighting of 10% towards the module. Students have one attempt to take each test. The on-line tests will allow students to test their progress and allow the module leader to comment on their efforts, as well as providing an element of summative assessment. The web-based tests provide formative feedback for the students’ final report and further assessments.

In the Spring semester, the assessment components consist of online assessments (3 x 20 minutes progress tests), covering syllabus topics including food spoilage, food infection and intoxication, food preservation methods as well as diet and gut flora and the two practical sessions, as well as a coursework laboratory report (1500 words) based on the food microbiology practicals.

The three on-line tests, each designed for 20 minutes, are in-class tests. The tests will be given in teaching weeks 19, 23 and 26 to engage learners with the taught material and provide both formative and summative assessment, with opportunity for formative feedback. The average of three 3 on-line tests has a weighting of 25% towards the module. Students have one attempt to take each test.

The final coursework (food microbiology laboratory report) should be submitted online via Weblearn, where the students have the opportunity to check the similarity of their draft against other published material, which in turn will help the students to avoid plagiarism.

The use of the tools on Weblearn will also be considered as a way of engaging students in classroom learning and for providing regular information about current developments in the subject.

Learners are required to attend all of the laboratory practical sessions.

To pass the module, students must get an overall mark of 40% or above.


Adams, M.R. & Moss, M.O. (2008) Food Microbiology, 3rd ed. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry. (CORE)
Campbell-Platt, G. (2009). Food Science and Technology. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Coultate, T.P. (2016) Food: the Chemistry of its Components, 6th ed. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry.
Fellows, P.J. (2009) Food Processing Technology, 3rd ed. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing Limited.
Forsythe, S.J. (2002) The Microbiological Risk Assessment of Food. Oxford, Blackwell Publishing.
Henry, C.J.K. & Heppell, N.J. (eds) (1998) Nutritional Aspects of Food Processing and Ingredients, New York: Aspen Publishers.
Lean, M. (2006). Fox and Cameron's Food Science, Nutrition and Health, 7th ed. London: Hodder Arnold. (CORE)
Nielsen, S.S. (2010) Food Analysis, 4th ed. New York: Springer Science.
Shafiur Rahman, M. (2007) Handbook of food preservation, 2nd ed. Cambridge: CRC Press.
Webb, G. (2012) Nutrition 4E: Maintaining and Improving Health, 4th ed. Cambridge: CRC press
Wheelis, M.L. (2008) Principles of Modern Microbiology. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett.
McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods Integrated Dataset (2015) (CORE)