Topics in Biochemistry: Fermentation

Belgium & Netherlands

On Campus: CD Mod; March 13-May 9, Day & Time TBD
Off Campus: May 13-26 2024 (tentative), Off Campus

Program Highlights:

  • Chem In-depth electives (for Chemistry Major; Int Science Major, or NUTR;Food Science advising track)   
  • Fulfills Global (GL) & Experiential Engagements (EX) in Integrations
  • Learn about Biochemistry of Fermentation in Food and Beverages
  • Tour local businesses (breweries, bread and cheese factories) that use fermentation
  • Taste-testing comparisons of foods prepared with different processes
  • Compare Fermentation processes in the US, Netherlands, and Belgium

 While abroad, you will….

  • Tour breweries and cheese farms that use fermentation (including Trappist Monastery)
  • Taste-testing of fermented food and beverages!
  • Participate in a cooking class
  • Become an apprentice chocolatier in a Belgian Chocolate Factory (Yes! Chocolate is also fermented)
  • Tour cultural sites in Amsterdam and Belgium including churches, WWI sites, and the Anne Frank House

Explore more Belgium & Netherlands - Embedded Program details on CSB/SJU Global Portal.

Course & Program Information

Course Name: Topics in Biochemistry: Fermentation

Course Number: CHEM 323B

Credit Number: 4 credits

Integrations Curriculum: Experiential (EX) & Global Engagement (GL)

Pre-requisite: CHEM 125 & CHEM 250

Major: Meets an in-depth elective for CHEM Majors

Course Description:

This course combines classroom learning at CSB/SJU and ends with an experiential component abroad. This course will cover the use of microorganisms in the production of foods, beverages, and chemical products. We will build on topics involving structure and reactivity of important biomolecules. The course will then cover a variety of biochemical pathways and investigate the types of organisms typically used in fermentation. This material will then be applied to the processes involved in making fermented foods (such as cheese, yogurt, bread, and pickles) and beverages (beer, wine, spirits, and kombucha). Topics may also include the use of fermentation in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries including tours of MN companies.  A study abroad component after the semester will include tours of several industries, reflections on the different cultural contexts for brewing and industry.   

Program Cost & Financial Considerations

Students on an embedded program will pay an education program fee in addition to the cost of attendance for the semester. Program Fee information will be available in September 2021, but you can find more information about costs on theCSB/SJU Global Portal.  

Students should plan early for a successful study abroad experience. Financial aid and scholarships may be available to help with program costs, but must be searched out well in advance.   


Students will stay in double-occupancy hotel accommodations while in Belgium & Netherlands. Wifi is available at all hotel locations.

Program Director Information

Program Director Information

Dr. Lisa Engstrom has been teaching chemistry at CSB/SJU for the past 8 years.  Dr. Lisa Engstrom’s PhD research at the University of California, Davis and her NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Minnesota involved the fermentation of different bacteria for cancer research.  She was co-director of the Topics in Fermentation study abroad program in spring 2022.  She enjoys spending time with her family, especially traveling and exploring new places outdoors, baking and knitting.

E-mail:  [email protected]