Dr. Evangelia Komitopoulou - Articles and news items

Ingredients supplement 2012

Issue 5 2012, Supplements  •  8 November 2012  •  Sandra Caldeira / Petros Maragkoudakis / Dr Evangelia Komitopoulou

Natural and artificial sweeteners – what are the health issues? (Sandra Caldeira – Project Manager, Nutrition and Health, IHCP, European Commission / Petros Maragkoudakis – Scientific/Technical Project Officer, Nutrition and Health, IHCP, European Commission)
Available in vitro methodologies for prebiotic and probiotic functionality (Dr Evangelia Komitopoulou – Head of Food Safety, Leatherhead Food Research)
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Microbial biofilms – a concern for industry?

Issue 3 2012  •  3 July 2012  •  Dr Evangelia Komitopoulou, Head of Food Safety, Leatherhead Food Research

Many bacteria are able to attach to and colonise environmental surfaces by producing a biofilm, which allows the organisms to persist in the environment and resist desiccation, UV light and treatment with antimicrobials and sanitising agents. Biofilms are formed when microbes attach to a solid support and to each other by extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), and on a wide variety of surfaces, including metal, plastic, rock and living or dead tissue. Once in a biofilm, bacteria can be several orders of magnitude more resistant to antimicrobials than their planktonic counterparts1.

Biofilms are of particular concern in the process and food industries as well as in potable and wastewater distribution systems. Biofilms formed on the inside of pipes can reduce flow rates while increased fouling can lead to decreases in heat transmission and thus ineffective processing, product contamination and pipe corrosion due to acid production in the biofilm. Biofilm formation in drinking water distribution systems can lead to a decrease in water velocity and carrying capacity, clogging and pipe corrosion, increase in energy utilisation and decreased operational efficiency. In marine and other aquatic environments, submerged surfaces attract organisms such as algae, diatoms and bacteria that are able to attach and form biofilms on ships’ hulls and become resistant to the different antifouling paints that have been developed to prevent the initial colonisation.

Overview of food preservation technologies

Issue 2 2011  •  13 May 2011  •  Dr Paul Gibbs & Dr Evangelia Komitopoulou, Food Safety, Leatherhead Food Research

The control of microbial access and growth in foods from ‘farm to fork’ is important to ensure consumer health and well-being and minimise losses of foods through spoilage. Whilst it seems almost impossible to achieve a good and consistently hygienic production of raw materials, there are many different ways of controlling both access and growth of important microorganisms. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), i.e. hygienic handling of the raw materials, should start on the farm to minimise pathogenic species that are naturally present in farm environments and can then be transferred to raw materials for food production. The whole environment of a manufacturing plant needs to be subjected to the HACCP principles to control ‘persistent pathogens’ which can be transferred to food ‘in-process’ and avoid post-process contamination.

The basic characteristics of food preservation technologies addressing chemical, biological, thermal and non-thermal processes is presented below.


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