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Food Microbiology: An Introduction, Third Edition

Editors: Thomas J. Montville1, Karl R. Matthews1, Kalmia E. Kniel2
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Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey; 2: Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware;
Content Type: Textbook
Publication Year: 2012

Category: Food Microbiology; Best-Selling Textbook

The newly updated and expanded includes expert perspectives on parasites, viruses and prions, and non-thermal processes. The text incorporates instructors' input to further clarify complex topics in the field of food microbiology and encourages students to venture beyond memorization and think critically to gain a broader conceptual understanding of food microbiology and acquire the understanding and skills necessary to ensure the safety of tomorrow's food supply. The book presents explicit learning goals to focus students on the core principles of food microbiology and introduces the genetics and molecular mechanisms important for the understanding of foodborne microbes.

For more on the book and information on requesting an examination copy please visit http://www.asmscience.org/instructors.

Book Summary

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Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education

21 September 2013

Food Microbiology 101

As an educator in a liberal arts college where only one microbiology course is offered as a biology elective, I am constantly looking for an introductory textbook that has a relatable “hook” to engage students. And there are not many such hooks as engaging as food. Therefore, I am excited to learn that Food Microbiology: an Introduction was written with undergraduate educators and students in mind. This third edition includes a few changes. For one, a new author, Dr. Kalmia Kniel, has come on board and offers enhanced expertise in parasitology and virology. A substantial amount of material is added in this edition, increasing the length from 446 pages in the 2nd edition to 570 pages in the current one. Many revised chapters are now more self-contained, which gives instructors flexibility to present them in different orders. In terms of organization and content, Food Microbiology: an Introduction is the “Lite” version of Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, an advanced food microbiology reference book.

The 29 chapters in this third edition are divided into four sections: 1. Basics of Food Microbiology, 2. Food Pathogenic Bacteria, 3. Other Microbes Important in Food, and 4. Control of Microorganisms in Food. Each chapter beings with “Learning Objectives” and ends with “Summary,” “Suggested Reading,” and “Questions for Critical Thought.” Also in each chapter are boxes and “Authors’ Notes” supplementing related information. Additionally, there are lighthearted cartoons to ease the anxiety of novice learners and crossword puzzles to familiarize students with the new vocabulary. Like the previous editions, the writing in this newest edition is clear, readable and engaging. The Authors’ Notes make the ordinary dry and dreary textbook personal and relatable. What I like the most are the end-of-chapter “Questions for Critical Thought.” While most questions are concept-driven and require a good understanding of the material, many can be used as prompts for small group discussions. If covering individual bacteria is one of your course objectives, then using the twelve foodborne pathogenic bacteria (each with its own chapter) to teach bacterial physiology, biochemistry, genetics, pathogenesis, and their medical and public health significance is an engaging option. What I would really like to see in this book is more coverage of cases and outbreaks. The authors present quite a few already, but including more and, better yet, starting each chapter with a case (i.e., a “hook”) would make the book even more appealing. It would also be great if some social issues were included for discussion.

Another area for improvement is the illustrations. I understand that using two shades of green for illustrations can cut down the publishing cost—and I am all for the affordable price—but complicated concepts and elaborated schemes could be made clearer through more sophisticated illustrations without additional colors. In addition, some debugs are needed. For example, the term “real-time PCR” appears in Chapter Four before PCR is explained in Chapter Five. Furthermore, it would be even more pedagogically sound if the end of the chapter summary could echo the “Learning Objectives” from the beginning of the chapter. For example, at the end of each summary statement, the authors could match it with the corresponding learning objective wherever possible. Overall, the writing is engaging and the coverage is comprehensive. It is the perfect textbook for Food Microbiology 101 in departments of food science. To use this book in liberal arts colleges where students have fewer biology courses under their belts-instructors will need to supplement some basic information. However, the relatable aspect of the book outweighs the extra work. It is an approach book for undergraduates.

Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education

Vol 13, No 2 (2012)

Reviewer: Min-Ken Liao, Furman University, Greenville, SC

Review Date: December 2012

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