A MINIScreen (Matrix INteractIon Screening) platform is available for fast screening in miniaturized food. This allows food companies or ingredient suppliers to optimize their product safety & shelf life and screen for desired functionalities in food relevant matrices. With the use of the MINIScreen platform new innovative products can be developed in a relatively short time-span and with minimal use of resources.
Screen in the food matrix
The current challenge in food research is to screen for desired functional properties in an environment that is representative for the actual industrial conditions. Optimization of preservation concepts or product quality requires screening of a large set of conditions which is time-consuming, hence costly. To allow rapid screening, currently ingredients are screened in broth assays in the initial screening phase which show a high failure rate when used in the final product formulation. Moreover, product-specific effects can be rather large and therefore it is crucial to test in the actual product matrix.
To reduce the gap between the results of a rapid screening method and the final formulation, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has developed the MINIScreen platform. This platform can assist in product-reformulation driven by current societal and consumer demand for omission of chemical additives and transition to plant proteins.
MINIScreen food models
Various MINIScreen food models are available or can be designed in a collaborative research project. Wageningen experts currently have experience with MINIScreen models that are used for cooked ham that mimics the protein-gel formation, cooked emulsified sausages, bread, processed fruit applications and plant-based meat and dairy application (in development). The portfolio of MINIScreen models is constantly extended based on client requests.
The MINIScreen platform additionally consists of high throughput equipment for analysis of the key performance indicator of interest. A pipetting robot for automated liquid handling may be used to automatically determine viable cell concentrations of beneficial organisms (e.g. in a fermentation) or unfavorable organisms (spoilage or pathogenic microorganisms). Furthermore viscosity can be determined and may serve as a proxy for texture properties. Finally samples for protein functionality and flavor analysis may be taken in time and analyzed by a range of mass spectral technologies.
All of the above can be done for hundreds to thousands of conditions on a weekly basis and allow for testing the influence of formula specifications such as moisture, fat, salt and pH or antimicrobials on the growth of a microorganism. This will allow companies to formulate a product such that it has the best flavor and shelf life stability characteristics.
Interested? Please contact us.