PPP Prospect (Predictive models for safety of sustainable protein products)

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is searching for partners to participate in a multi-partner consortium project aiming to develop effective preservation strategies and predictive pathogen growth models for plant-based products. To help secure safety and shelf life of plant-based protein products, effective (mild and clean label) preservation hurdles and mathematical models to predict food pathogen growth are needed.

This project aims to develop validated preservation strategies and predictive models for the plant-based foods that help industry to maximize product shelf life without compromising food safety.   

Food safety is of eminent importance for the protection of consumers and brand reputation. The rise of alternative plant-based proteins and novel side streams for more sustainable food production introduces new protein products on the market. The functional, nutritional and technical challenges resulting from the use of new proteins are being addressed, however the food safety aspects and prediction of pathogen growth for these new product commodities have received limited attention. The food matrix composition has a large impact on the efficacy of control strategies for food pathogens, for example different efficacy can be observed in animal protein based products in comparison to its plant-based counterparts.

The project addresses the need for predictive models that more accurately predict pathogen behavior in matrices containing new plant-based protein sources including sources resulting from re-use of side streams and ingredients.

The aim of the project is to improve mathematical models for more accurate prediction of pathogen behavior in food systems that contain (new) plant-based protein sources. The project aims to contribute at three different levels:

  1. Validation of predictive models already available in (miniaturized) food matrices containing (new) plant-based protein sources and combination with other ingredients
  2. Enrichment of existing databases with new growth data for different (new) plant-based protein sources, and the interaction effects with other food ingredients
  3. Development of new models with datasets for new proteins, relevant variability and interactions factors in predictive models for pathogen development in the food (chain)

Two categories of food pathogens are specifically relevant within the scope of the project:

  • Listeria monocytogenes: typically a concern in chilled products (many plant-based products or meat/dairy replacers belong to this food category).
  • Pathogenic spore formers: highly resistant contaminants present in raw material of plant-origin and will mild survive (heat) processing

Want to join us?

We would like to invite relevant stakeholders that act in the food production chain including manufacturers of plant-based protein products, suppliers of new protein ingredients,suppliers of antimicrobial solutions for new protein sources (e.g. organic acids, ferments to join this Public-Private-Partnership. We are NOT searching for other research institutes or students who are searching for an internship. We would be pleased to further discuss the opportunities within PPP PROSPECT for you.