Jul 5, 2011

4-day short course on: “Microbiology: Fundamentals & Applications” by the Faculty of Agriculture

Faculty of Agriculture: 4-day short course on: “Microbiology: Fundamentals & Applications” by the Faculty of Agriculture

Dr Sunita Santchurn's  Feedback and Mrs Esha Aumjaud's Views on the Lectures

21 participants registered for the short course. The majority of them were from the food and hotel industry. Others were from the sugar milling industry, cosmetics industry, public and private laboratories, research centre. Based on the feedback obtained from the participants, the course was rated very good to excellent overall. Participants were very satisfied with the organisation of the course. They also very much appreciated the knowledge-sharing experience and interaction with both course trainers, Professor James E. Gannon, Fulbright scholar, University of Montana, (USA) and Professor Arvind M. Deshmukh from Marathwada University (India). 

The practical sessions were ably organised and run by the FoA technicians, namely Mrs Assebhai and Ms Zeenat. Ms S. Boodhoo - a research assistant on an MRC funded project- gave valuable assistance with respect to the use of PCR tool in identification of pathogens. The laboratory sessions and the visit to FUEL sugar mill were also found to be very interesting. Participants stated the course would be beneficial to their work or further studies. They would be willing to come back for other courses organised by the faculty. At the end of the course, the participants were awarded a Certificate of Attendance.

Mrs Esha Aumjaud's Views on the Lectures
I attended two lectures during the short course. Professor Gannon unfolded the world of bacteria to us very explicitly and made use of many real life examples. Bacteria are everywhere, within and around us. They can be “good”, “bad” or “ugly”. The “good” ones are used in the manufacture of foods and biofuels; the “bad” ones are pathogens and cause food poisoning; the “ugly” ones spoil food appearance and flavour without necessarily being harmful to human health. Just like us they have a history, a family, an identity, a morphology and compete among themselves for survival and growth. Bacteria are metabolically diverse and are classified according to their cell structure and characteristics. They are everywhere but not all of them are present in a particular system. Unlike us they do not control their environment but we can control them. Understanding the bacteria likely to be present in a food medium is necessary to develop specific measures to ensure food safety and quality. Most bacteria need water to grow and proliferate rapidly at ambient temperatures and many do not tolerate acid conditions. However a few bacteria grow at refrigerated temperatures and some produce endospores which survive cooking temperatures. Over time they have evolved to protect themselves from hostile practices. Some bacteria have developed resistance against antibiotics.
Bacteria are ubiquitous but can be controlled by us to optimise beneficial characteristics and prevent adverse health effects. One effective strategy is to use knowledge of the conditions at which they grow best to create an environment which will prevent them from multiplying. Professor Gannon explained that: “This is part of the tricks of the trade in industry”.

1 comment:

K.Boodhoo said...

Indeed, it was a well organised short course and most of the planned activities were undertaken well. Thanks to the Sunita, the course organiser.
Indeed it was a ravel to listen to Prof Gannon discourses and it encorages us to be up to the expected standards in our delivery of lectures as well. I enjoyed the lecture on indicator organisms. I left the room thinking that knowledge is limitless in this area.
Well Done Guys.