The Department for Food Science and Technology was established in 1961, with its first generation of students enrolling in the school year 1962/63. Subsequently, a first generation of students enrolled for the Study of Microbiology in 1993. The department also has a prominent role in the BSc and MSc studies of Biotechnology, which was established in 2004.
The Department for Food Science and Technology is organized into five chairs and a group, comprising pedagogical and research staff with expertise in the field of food technologies, biotechnology, microbiology, nutrition, sensory analysis, and food chemistry and biochemistry. Laboratories of the Department are equipped with the most modern instruments, which enable support for research. Currently, the department has 78 employees, of whom 20 are professors and 13 belong to teaching staff who support teaching activities; 12 employees are involved solely in administration and technical support. 30 researches are predominantly involved in teaching activities. Currently, the department of Food Science and Technology is managing teaching activities organized in 7 study programs (3 BSc studies and 4 MSc studies). The BSc studies encompass around 200 students enrolled at Food Science and Nutrition, 180 students at Microbiology and around 160 students at the BSc study of Biotechnology. Two year MSc studies at the department include around 70 students at Nutrition, 90 students at Food Science, 110 at Microbiology and 125 students at the MSc study of Biotechnology.
Research activities are organised within three program groups:
• Integrated food technology and nutrition (P4-0234) combines food processing technologies and human nutrition to provide food quality and safety. The program is devoted to study innovative and sustainable processing of foodstuffs (meat, plant food, wine processing), dynamic heat treatment of food ('foodborne' components, dynamic control of heat treatment parameters, additives and alternative oils), dynamic packaging and storing (treatment with light-emitting diodes, hot water treatments and coatings, dynamic atmosphere) and nutritional issues (fatty acids in oils during the heat treatment, nutrition status of some categories of population, and dietary fibre intake and formulation of dietary fibre rich meat and bakery products).
• Biochemical and Biophysical-chemical characterization of natural substances (P4-0121) studies phenolic compounds, their stability during food processing, storage and bioavailability. Research also includes advanced technologies of microencapsulation and other formulation approaches.
• Microbiology and biotechnology of food and environment (P4-0116) is devoted to the study of microbial biotic and abiotic interactions at the molecular, cellular or population levels, in terms of evolutionary and/or ecological aspects, including diverse topics of food safety, bioactive components from plant origin, microbiology of food processing, microbial stress response and resistance in food-related environment, of microbial communities, microbial signalling, biofilm formation. Isolation, taxonomic and physiological characterization of different yeast and bacteria, as well as their taxonomical identification is carried out systematically since 1990. Microorganisms are stored in the Collection of Industrial Microorganisms (ZIM) at the department. The work is also devoted to the identification and the metabolic and biosynthetic engineering of enzymes and pathways involved in secondary metabolite biosynthesis and resistance.
Over 20 PhD students and junior researchers are currently exclusively involved in research activities. Currently, around 25 projects and 6 PhD studentships are financed by Slovenian national funding bodies such as the Slovenian research agency (ARRS), 4 are EU-funded projects and 8 international bilateral projects. Researchers at the department are currently carrying out 10 collaborative projects with industrial partners.