Course syllabus


BBT051 Sustainable food production lp1 HT22 (7.5 hp)


Course is offered by:

Department of Life Sciences

Contact details


Mehdi Abdollahi, Docent

Department of Biology and Biological Engineering–Food and Nutrition Science, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden


Contact information:


Phone: +46-31-772 3823 

Mobile: +46768427346





Jenny Schelin, Associate Professor

Division of Applied Microbiology, Department of Chemistry, Lund University, Lund, Sweden



Helena Lindh-PhD

Market Sustainability Expert - Tetra Pak



Anders Höberg-PhD

Research & Strategic Partnership Manager– Orkla Food Sverige



Anna Ström, Professor

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied chemistry, Pharmaceutical technology, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden



Yvonne Nygård - Associate Professor

Department of Biology and Biological Engineering– Industrial Biotechnology, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden



Rossana Coda-Docent

Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Helsinki, 00014, Helsinki, Finland



Johan Larsbrink- Associate Professor

Department of Biology and Biological Engineering– Industrial Biotechnology, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden



Verena Siewers-Research Professor

Department of Biology and Biological Engineering– Systems and Synthetic Biology, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden



Ingrid Undeland- Professor

Department of Biology and Biological Engineering– Food and Nutrition Science, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden



Ulf Sonesson

R&I Manager Sustainable Food Systems · RISE Research Institutes of Sweden




Course purpose

The aim is to provide an overview and fundamental understanding of the application of food science, biotechnology and engineering principles applied in sustainable industrial food production, from systems to product perspective.




Course literature



Course design


The food system is complex and includes several steps in a chain from farm to fork. Industrial food processing i.e. transformation of raw material into ingredients and food products is an important step in the sustainable food production and relies on principles and techniques of biotechnology and engineering. Biotechnology is used in traditional and high-tech food production and processing, above all for manufacture of fermented foods and additives, e.g. for improved taste, texture, shelf life, and nutritional value. New applications of biotechnology are explored within microbiology, enzyme engineering and functional foods. Food engineering integrates principles of engineering, science, and mathematics to food manufacturing including the processing, production, handling, storage, conservation, control, packaging and distribution of food products. The course covers the following aspects under three main areas:

Food engineering and technology

  • The food industry and the production chain-from raw material to product 
  • Processing of common foods 
  • Food hygiene, production safety and legislation
  • Food preservation technologies 
  • Ultra-processed foods
  • Food packaging 
  • Emerging food processing technologies 
  • Product development and product assessment 
  • Assessment of food structure and properties 

Food Biotechnology

  • Fundamental processes and principles in food biotechnology 
  • Microorganisms utilized in food biotechnology 
  • Fermentation in food production 
  • Enzymes in food production 
  • Biotech production of food ingredients and high-value products 
  • Biorefinery for food purposes 
  • Current trends in circular economy and green, blue, red and brown bioeconomy 

Sustainable Food Systems and Engineering

  • Green food processing 
  • Sustainability in the food system 
  • Tools to evaluate sustainability from product to system
  • Future foods and the future of food

The course will provide the theoretical framework of principles, methods and techniques applied in the different main areas. The student will also use acquired knowledge to perform simulations of different food processing conditions to evaluate their effects on food quality and safety parameters in a computer-exercise. Moreover, a food product development project will be conducted throughout the course including design, lab-scale production and evaluation with regards to sustainability, safety and quality traits. The results of the project will be reported orally and in a written report.



The course includes lectures (25h), a simulation-based assignment (4h), a food product development assignment (16h wet lab, 4h seminar) and a study visit (3h).

Changes made since the last occasion



Learning objectives and syllabus

Learning objectives:

On completing this course, students should be acquainted with, understand and be able to describe:

Within Food Engineering and Technology

     a. Be familiar with most important conventional and emerging food processing technologies used across the food value chain.
     b. Be able to describe how to choose proper food packaging and preservation technologies
     c. Be able to describe how to guarantee food quality and safety.
     d. Be acquainted with principles of food products development and their assessment in micro/macro level.

Within Food Biotechnology

     a. Be able to describe fundamental processes, principles and microorganisms used in food biotechnology
     b. Be familiar with applications of biotechnology in food production, processing and preservation.
     c. Be able to describe principles of food fermentation and enzyme technology.
     d. Be acquainted with biotechnological production of high-value food ingredients and their safety and health aspects.

Within Sustainable Food Systems and Engineering

     a. Be able to describe general aspects of sustainability in food systems at different levels (local-global)
     b. Be able to use different systems analysis tools-to assess sustainability of food systems, e.g. LCA.
     c. Be able to describe how food systems and products can become more sustainable.
     d. Be familiar with emerging sustainable food sources and alternatives, their challenges, and the future of foods. 


Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen.

Study plan

Examination form

The final written exam contains descriptive and quantitative questions on contents covered in the lectures, exercises and course literature. 

The final grade for the lecture part and the project is calculated separately. The lectures will be assessed using a final written exam with 90 points + 10 points from the class activities. It will be a combination of multiple-choice, short-answer, long-answer, fill-in-the-blanks and true/false questions. It will be equal to 3.5 HEC.

The project is assessed separately with a combination of group assignments defined for different learning activities throughout the project including the idea generation, halfway report, lab works, final presentation and final report. It will provide 80 points+ 20 points from the casework which is an individual assignment. Both together will be equal to 3 HEC.

Oral presentation of the product development project and attendance of laboratory scale food production, study visit and the simulation exercise are mandatory and pre-requisites for grading. There are strict deadlines for submission of assignments. Further details, e.g. criteria for assessment of assignments, are given in the course PM.

Course summary:

Date Details Due