About 25% of all foods produced globally are estimated to be lost due to microbial spoilage, of which fungal spoilage forms a significant part. Fungal spoilage forms a widespread challenge for sustainable food production. Moreover, various fungi are able to produce mycotoxins that threaten the safety of the food supply chain. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is searching for industrial partners that want to invest in sustainability of their food production chain by development of more effective strategies to target fungal spoilage.
Fungal spoilage typically starts with numerous fungal spores that can reach the food products by air, water or living organisms. If we would prevent this very early stage of spoilage by eradication, disinfection or prevention of outgrowth, we would decrease deterioration of food, increase its quality, safety and sustainable production.
The fruit production chain is among the more challenging chains to control fungal spoilage. Effective control strategies requires solutions directions at multiple levels in the fruit chain taking into account storage and processing conditions but also fungal species or even strain-specific characteristics.
In this project we aim to develop methods and knowledge for early stage eradication of fungal spores in the fruit production chain.
The project brings together expertise from Wageningen Food & Biobased Research on applied food microbiology, food processing and sensor/imaging techniques and the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute with fundamental understanding of fungal behavior and fungal taxonomy.
This unique combination of expertise’s allows an approach at multiple levels in the fruit production chain aiming for the following project deliverables:
- Biosensors/imaging techniques for early detection of fungal spoilage and identification to link strain /species specific characteristics to most optimal antifungal strategies
- Hygiene solutions for prevention of spreading of fungal spores via the air in the warehouses or factory environment
- Enhanced (milder) processing methods to eradicate fungal contaminants by using combinatorial approaches (for example mild heat and pressure, or mild processing in combination with antifungal compounds)
- A decision support system built on both publicly-available information from the scientific literature, consortium know-how and newly developed data from the project to help industry select most optimal strategies.
Invitation to join
We would like to invite companies active in the fruit production chain (breeders, processors) and suppliers of antifungal solutions to participate in this consortium. In return for in-cash and in-kind contributions to the project, partners can contribute materials for research and provide direction to the research activities. The consortium will run for 3 years with 4-6 industrial partners.
Unfortunately, we are not able to reply to enquiries from students related to this project. We would be pleased to further discuss the opportunities within PPP Target Control of Fungal Spoilage with you.