research on microbes

Project

Biofilm control in food processing environments

Many microbes have the capacity to adhere to surfaces and reside in biofilms. Microbes embedded in biofilms often display increased resistance towards antimicrobial treatments.

To the food industry, these biofilms are problematic as their presence on surfaces of processing equipment are extremely difficult to eradicate and can act as a persistent source of product contamination thereby causing premature spoilage, product loss, and safety issues.

The ‘Biofilm LifeCycle’ is one of the four projects of the Food Preservation and Safety Research theme of TI Food and Nutrition. The overall aim of this project is to understand factors contributing to the formation of bacterial biofilms and understanding of the role of biofilms in:

  1. diversification and persistence of food pathogen and spoilage microorganisms
  2. bacterial survival of preservation strategies
  3. outgrowth performance  in food products.

This information may provide new leads to prevent domestication and establishment of spoilage and pathogenic persisters and to develop more effective strategies to eradicate them from factory environments.  

Approach

The project is divided over 4 sub projects addressing different industrial niches:

  1. biofilms in industrial production facilities that operate at elevated temperatures
  2. biofilms of mesophilic spore formers typically encountered  in dairy products and minimally processed foods requiring storage at refrigerated temperatures
  3. Lactobacillus biofilms
  4. Multi species biofilms

Results

Results of these projects will be made available by publication in scientific journals.