Industrial Microbiology

5 ECTS / Semester / Português

Objectives and competences

Specialty discipline of Microbiology, integrating the group of courses aimed at providing the student with a comprehensive perspective of the various subjects of this area (food, environmental, clinical, industrial).

Students should
know the main industrial processes and products from microorganisms;
correlate the nutritional requirements of microorganisms to media formulation, namely for industrial applications;
know the industrial biocatalysts selection and maintenance processes;
analyse bioreactors operating in different regimes;
know the sterilization processes applied to fermentation systems; evaluate and quantify contaminants presence in culture media after heat sterilization;
design experiments and define experimental protocols.

Use and cultivate microorganisms in batch cultures.
Evaluate the influence of operating conditions in different fermentation systems.
Design, organize and carry out experimental work autonomously.
Team working and group work management.
Oral communication and scientific writing of experimental work results.


Teaching Methodologies

Lectures organized in six different modules: the first five modules analyse generic microbial processes, and the sixth module is focused on specific cases of industrial application of microorganisms (presented by several invited experts).
Practical classes in which students optimize a fermentation process, based on the manipulation of operating conditions (group work).




  1. Introduction to biological processes
    Biological processes, their applications, advantages and disadvantages. Microbial processes: goals; applications; examples. Metabolites with industrial application.
  2. Culture Media
    Nutritional requirements of microorganisms. Substrates for industrial processes. Complex nutrient sources. Formulation and preparation of culture media.
  3. Biocatalysts
    Most important biological characteristics of biocatalysts. Selection and improvement of industrial biocatalysts. Storage, maintenance and propagation of biocatalysts for industrial conversions.
  4. Fermentation systems
    The kinetics of microbial growth and substrate consumption. Limitation and inhibition of microbial growth.
    Fermentation systems in batch, fed-batch and continuous. Notions of productivity and yields. Chemostat cultures; influence of dilution rate; reactor wash-out; maximum productivity.
    Types of fermenters.
  5. Sterilization
    Sterilization of liquids and gaseous media and equipment. Sterilized in batch and in continuous.
  6. Industrial microbial processes
    Cases studies: production of starter cultures, algae and derivatives production, production of pharmaceutical compounds.

PL classes

Implementation of various fermentation processes (a different process for each group of students): influence of vitamins on the viability of the yeast; influence of amino acids on the viability of the yeast; lactic acid production; baker's yeast production; liquid probiotic yoghurt production.

Planning experiences. Preparation of the experimental protocol. After verification and approval of the experimental procedure, the groups prepare and carry out the planned experiments.

Manipulation of the operating conditions to optimize the process.

Determination of kinetic parameters, yields and productivities.

Based on the results, the experiments are repeated after following improvements or new experiences are proposed to better describe the issue under study.


Associate Professor
Isabel Vasconcelos graduated in Chemical Engineering at the University of Porto, Portugal and got her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Biotechnology, option…
PhD in Biotechnology and degree in Microbiology from Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Raquel Madureira is an Assistant Professor at the Escola Superior de…
Assistant Professor
PhD in Biotechnology (specialty in Biology) from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and from the International Rice research Institute (Philippines). Degree in…
Associate Professor
Graduate of Universidade Católica Portuguesa with a B.Sc. in Food Engineering and a PhD in Biotechnology. Associate Professor with Aggregation at Escola…
Associate Professor
Got his Ph.D., in 1990, in Nat. Sci. from the Univ. of Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany. B.Sc. in Pharm. Sci. from the Univ. of Porto, Portugal, in 1985. He is…
Associate Professor
PhD in Food Science and Technology from the University of Reading UK & Habilitation in the same discipline by the Catholic University of Portugal. Currently…