module specification

NU5003 - Food Science and Microbiology (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Food Science and Microbiology
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 300
200 hours Guided independent study
100 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%   Essay (2000 words)
Unseen Examination 25%   Unseen Exam (1h)
Running in 2018/19
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. In addition, the module contains a series of laboratory practicals that include the proximate analysis of foods (e.g. moisture, fat, protein, ash) and measurement of food energy. 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.
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 the principles of food spoilage and preservation, 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, 2
Nutrition and food processing  LO 2
Food labelling  LO 3
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 3, 6

Microbial world, Factors affecting the growth of microorganisms  LO 4, 6
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, 6
Diet & gut flora   LO 5
Principles of food safety & hygiene  LO 6

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The syllabus will be developed through lectures (58h), tutorials/case studies (20h) and laboratory work (22h). 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.
LO3. Interpret food labels with respect to nutrition, ingredients and legal requirements.
LO4. Demonstrate an understanding of the causes of food spoilage, food-borne disease and strategies for prevention.
LO5. Demonstrate an understanding of human microbiota and how diet plays a role in their balance.
LO6. Apply food safety legislation knowledge to the practice of nutritionists and evaluate the safety of food services.

Assessment strategy

This module will be assessed by two web-based Progress tests (30 min each) covering syllabus topics food chemistry, processing, quality assurance and food safety (chemical), and an unseen exam (1hr), covering syllabus topics including food spoilage, food infection and intoxication, food preservation methods as well as diet and gut flora. The students are also expected to submit a Nutritional Analysis of Food Label report (2000 words) plus appropriate figures, tables and references and a coursework essay (2000 words) on topics related to food safety and health. To pass the module, students must get an overall mark of 40% or above.

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. The final coursework essay 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. Summative feedback will be provided to the students using the tools available on Weblearn.

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.


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)