MTSU’s new Fermentation Science major is the first degree program of its type in Tennessee
and rare in the Southeast region. Fermentation is now understood to be an ideal vehicle
for the production of highly nutritious and long-term stable foods with unique flavors,
textures, and aromas. Tennessee is home to a large and diverse community of food processors,
and the most significant growth has been in the fermented foods segment of this vitally
important industry. Courses in Fermentation Science will be taught in partnership
with local companies, and hands-on training sessions at industry sites as well as
internships will be scheduled to accommodate both working professionals and traditional
students. Tennessee hosts 60 wineries, 30 distilleries, 52 breweries, 10 cheese-making
operations, the largest yogurt manufacturing plant in the world, additional smaller
yogurt producers, and two major ethanol production facilities.
Live outside of Tennessee? You could be eligible for in-state tuition and save thousands
Hop Springs, MTSU fermentation science program celebrate grand opening
Alumnus Mark Jones (’90) founded Hop Springs Beer Park., a new 82-acre agribusiness
enterprise that recently opened Murfreesboro (Think Arrington Vineyards, only serviced
by a brewery instead of a winery and raising hops instead of grapes). The business
serves as the location of MTSU’s new fermentation lab and sensory lab —a kind of “psychological
space” highlighted by blind testing, tasting, and smelling activities. The cutting-edge
facility helped MTSU launch the Fermentation Science program – and Jones hired the
program’s first graduate. “It’s almost meant to be, the way things are laying out,”
Jones said. “Part of the new degree requires internships, and we can give students
hands-on, real-world opportunities, as well as prepare what will become a qualified
labor force for us.” Read more about it .
Fermentation is old and new at the same time
While the practice of fermenting foods dates back 8,000 years or so, the science behind
the processes continues to evolve. And the search for bolder flavor and better nutrition
in the U.S. is increasing the demand for familiar fermented foods like sourdough bread,
as well as food products native to other countries such as kefir, miso, and pickled
fruits and vegetables. “The science behind brewing beer and fermenting foods is largely
the same,” program director Tony Johnston said. “We use microorganisms such as yeast,
bacteria, and mold to create foods we like to consume—cheese, sour cream, buttermilk,
yogurt, sauerkraut, summer sausage, pickles, kimchi.” Fermentation has the capability
to produce probiotic compounds in foods, as well as convert sugars into acids that
are “much better for us,” Johnston said. It’s also the only food preservation technique
that doesn’t require the input of energy.
MTSU College of Basic & Applied Sciences
千蠃官网国际网址The explosive growth of the fermented foods and fermentation-derived energy over the
last 20 years indicate significant potential for employment of graduates with the
proposed degree. Fermented food manufacturers of every type need college graduates
with specialized training who can enter the workforce ready to sustain and advance
the industry. The B.S. in Fermentation Science addresses both the current, pressing
needs of local industry and creates new opportunities for highly trained food industry
specialists who could transition from one type of fermented food industry to another.
A 2014 survey by the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA) shows a preference
for a four-year degree for management and leadership positions, as well as for brewmasters
or head brewers. Other positions where a four-year degree is indicated includes quality
positions, brewery positions, lab technicians, and engineers. Job titles graduates
may choose to pursue
- Biomanufacturing operator
- Bioprocess engineer/scientist/researcher
- Brewer (assistant/associate/lead/master)
- Brewery operations director
- Cellar technician/manager/operator
- Distiller (assistant/associate/master/head)
- Ethanol operator
- Fermentation engineer
- Fermentation process specialist/developer
- Fermentation scientist
- Manufacturing scientist
- Maltster (assistant/senior/master/head)
- Research winemaker
- Research brewer
- Research distiller
- Scratch baker
- Winemaker (assistant/associate/master/head)
Employers of MTSU alumni include
This information is still being compiled since this is a new program.
Program graduates will have the opportunity to work in a variety of positions for
major manufacturers operating in middle Tennessee, including General Mills (Yoplait),
Kroger (Dairy Division), Brown-Forman (Jack Daniel’s), and Diageo (George Dickel),
as well as an ever-increasing number of locally owned and operated fermented food
Examples of other potential local employers
- Cargill Inc.
- Century Harvest Farms
- Great Lakes Cheese
- Greenbrier Distillery
- Steel Barrel Brewing
- Sweetwater Valley Farm
- Tennessee Distilling Ltd.
- Yazoo Brewing Company
Possible national/international companies
- Anheuser-Busch Inc.
- Boehringer Ingelheim Inc.
- Constellation Brands Inc.
- E. & J. Gallo Winery
- Hach Company
- Pfizer, Inc.
- Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
- Zymergen, Inc
MTSU offers the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Fermentation Science, a new program
in the School of Agriculture.
Within agriculture, fermentation science is one of the two fastest-growing areas of
interest with the most immediate impact on the well-being of humanity. Program director
Tony Johnston holds a doctorate in Enology and Viticulture and has worked extensively
in the fermented foods industry.
Other majors in the School of Agriculture leading to a B.S. are Agribusiness, Animal Science, Horse Science, and Plant and Soil Science. Students may also take courses in pursuit of an Agricultural Education Certificate.
Undergraduate and graduate minors are available in Agriculture.
Graduate study includes the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Administration and Supervision
with a concentration in Agricultural Education Leadership and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Horse Science千蠃官网国际网址 with concentrations in Equine Education, Equine Physiology, and Industry Management.
For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS button to the right.
Fermentation Science, B.S.
Tony Johnston, program coordinator
千蠃官网国际网址The program leading to a major in Fermentation Science is designed for students interested in the science and art of fermenting foods and beverages as well as developing practical research and outreach initiatives to answer questions facing the growing fermentation-related industries in Tennessee, the United States, and the world.
Following is a printable, suggested four-year schedule of courses:
General Education (41 hours)
requirements (shown in curricular listings below) include courses in Communication, History, Humanities and/or Fine Arts, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social/Behavioral Sciences.
千蠃官网国际网址The following courses are required by the program and can satisfy the respective General Education requirement:
- BIOL 1110/1111 (Nat Sci)
- CHEM 1110/1111 (Nat Sci)
- MATH 1730 (Math) (recommended)
Major Requirements (57 hours)
FERM 1000 - Introduction to Fermentation Science
3 credit hours
千蠃官网国际网址Survey of fermentation as a means of food preservation, the history of intentional fermentation by mankind, the range of human and animal foodstuffs produced by fermentation, the production of energy by fermentation, and the cultural/social implications of fermentation.
FERM 3700 - Consumer Motivation and Sensory Evaluation of Fermented Foods
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: FERM 1000 and completion of at least 60 hours college credit or 21 years of age at start of class. Fundamentals of sensory evaluation of food and sensory-driven consumer motivation leading to the purchase of fermented foods. Scientific methods of sensory evaluation introduced and practiced and their use in determining critical factors in consumer purchase decisions discussed.