Microbial Products in a Sustainable Garden State and Beyond
This course explores the science, culture, and sustainability of microbial agricultural products through readings, lectures, group projects. Throughout the semester, students explore the cultural history and microbiology of agricultural products such as cheese production, wine and beer fermentation, fermented sausages, and mushroom cultivation, with an appreciation of cultural heritage, on site, in New Jersey.
Students will learn about the factors that control microbiological growth and activity, and how humans exploit and manipulate microbes in food and beverage production and agricultural practices. Students will study the complex chemical and biological processes that create different fermented foods, with techniques that blend modern scientific knowledge with traditional values and practices. Students will also explore past agricultural practices and changes that have occurred over the last century or more in the production of this agricultural product, discuss challenges facing the agricultural industry, and articulate how these challenges are being addressed.
Course instructor, Dr. Jessica Lisa, has carried on her family’s traditions of growing and fermenting foods, vegetable preservation, cheesemaking, and wine production. Understanding the microbiological processes associated with these traditional preservation practices has always been an interest to the instructor. The melding of family tradition, modern science, and sustainable practices provides the instructor with a unique perspective that is particularly relevant to the course.
This 3-credit course fulfills SAS and SEBS Core Curriculum Learning Goals for Contemporary Challenges and Natural Sciences.
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