NFOK14026U Dairy Microbiology

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Food Science and Technology


The course will contain lectures on:

  • Raw milk microflora
  • Pathogenic and spoilage microflora
  • Bioprotective cultures
  • Starter cultures: primary (lactic acid bacteria) and adjunct (yeasts, moulds, propionibacterium, red smear microflora, lactic acid bacteria ripening cultures) starter cultures microflora as well as adventious microbflora (non-starter lactic acid bacteria) and their role in dairy products
  • Bacteriophage and bacteriophage resistance in dairy environment
  • Role of starter culture physiology on growth and end products (aroma formation, proteolysis, glycolysis, amino acid catabolism)
  • Guest lectures from speakers representing major starter culture producers

Laboratory and theoretical excercises will include:

  • Characterization of starter cultures using culture and culture independent techniques
  • Detection and propagation of bacteriophages from dairy products
  • Influence of starter culture propagation conditions on starter composition and activity


Learning Outcome

The aim of the course is to give the students a thorough knowledge of roles and importance of microbes in manufacture of dairy products. Focus will be on primary and adjunct starter cultures for dairy products, and including the adventious microflora associated with cheese.

Through lectures and laboratory exercies the course will also give the students additional knowledge on microbiological analysis on organisms relevant for dairy products. Knowledge of the most important spoilage and patogenic microbes in dairy products will also be obtained.
After completing the course the student should be able to:


  • Describe the composition of starter cultures and their use in dairy products
  • Describe the secondary, adjunct and adventitious microflora found in cheese and their biochemical role in cheese ripening
  • Comprehend the role of physiology of starter, secondary starter, adjunct cultures and non-starter bacteria in fermented dairy products
  • Comprehend the principles for starter production
  • Comprehend how bacteriophages influence fermented dairy product quality and how to detect them
  • Display knowledge on culture dependent and culture independent techniqes for quantification of microorganisms from dairy products


  • Apply principles for species and strain identification of dairy organisms
  • Analyse dairy product for relevant microorganisms using classical and molecular biology based methods and evaluate the putative source of them
  • Compare literature information with own obtained data


  • Find, use and evaluate dairy microbiology literature in relation to dairy fermentation processes
  • Cooperate with fellow students about literature and practical laboratory work
  • Communicate and evaluate own data in relation to literature in writing and orally

See Absalon for a list of course literature. It will include textbooks, reviews and original litterature, presentations, notes and laboratory manuals.




Qualifications within the field of microbiology of fermented food and beverages are recommended.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
Lectures, theoretical and practical exercises, group work.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 80
  • Theory exercises
  • 5
  • Practical exercises
  • 50
  • Study Groups
  • 20
  • Guidance
  • 10
  • Exam Preparation
  • 12
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min
Type of assessment details
Individual oral examination without time for preparation. At minimum 2 weeks before the examination, all examination questions (covering the essential issues of the course) are handed out.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Same as ordinary exam

Criteria for exam assesment

See learning outcomes