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Microbiology - Articles and news items

Whole Genome Sequencing and the food industry

Blogs, Z Homepage Promo  •  8 November 2016  •  Greg Jones, Senior Research Officer, Microbiology, Campden BRI

Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) has the potential to render other forms of microbiological identification obsolete. New Food takes a closer look…

Eggs from small flocks just as likely to contain Salmonella enteritidis

Featured news, Industry news  •  16 September 2016  •  College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State

Eggs from small flocks of chickens are just as likely to be contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis as eggs sold in grocery stores, say researchers from Penn State…

Inlabtec Serial Diluter: A great addition to the lab!

Featured news  •  18 November 2015  •  Inlabtec

In order to create additional capacity for hygiene monitoring, the microbiology laboratory has purchased an Inlabtec Serial Diluter to simplify and accelerate serial dilutions for plate counts…

Whitepaper: The Hygienic Design of Food Industry Brushware

Whitepapers  •  1 October 2015  •  Vikan A/S

The correct selection of cleaning equipment by the food manufacturing and food service industries is essential to minimise the risk of product contamination and aid compliance…

Microbe mobilises ‘iron shield’ to block arsenic uptake in rice

Industry news  •  16 June 2015  •  Victoria White

University of Delaware researchers have discovered a soil microbe that mobilises an “iron shield” to block the uptake of toxic arsenic in rice…

Eurofins partners with Wolverhampton University for Microbiology training

Industry news  •  9 February 2015  •  Eurofins

As part of an investment programme in its microbiology department, Eurofins Food Testing UK has launched a new two year scheme exclusively for Microbiology Undergraduates at the University of Wolverhampton, designed to develop food scientists of the future…

Microbiological criteria and testing: Dos and don’ts

Issue 5 2014  •  27 October 2014  •  François Bourdichon, Corporate Food Safety, Microbiology and Hygiene Manager, Barry Callebaut

Following the food scandals of the late-1980s and early-1990s, and the increasing knowledge on foodborne and waterborne pathogen, the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) was put in place in 1995 to set the framework of all measures taken by a World Trade Organisation (WTO) member to protect human, animal or plant life or health within its territory from certain risks, and which may affect international trade…

Rapid Methods supplement 2014

Issue 4 2014, Supplements  •  2 September 2014  •  François Bourdichon, Elke de Moor, Cécile Vadier, Adrianne Klijn, Paul in 't Veld, Daniele Sohier, Roy Betts, Philip Feldsine

Featuring an article on microbiology method validation which questions whether alternative methods are as good as the reference method, and an article from Barry Callebaut on defining one’s need to use the most relevant tool…

Microbiological safety of nuts and seeds: new guidance from Campden BRI

Industry news  •  1 September 2014  •  Campden BRI

There have been a number of food safety incidents in recent years involving pathogens such as Salmonella, which have been found on low moisture foods such as nuts and seeds…

Advancing analytical microbiology in the dairy industry

Issue 3 2014  •  23 June 2014  •  Mickaël Boyer and Jing Geng, Danone Nutricia Research

Today’s consumers have greater expectations than ever before regarding food. They expect not only safe, good quality and value-based products but also a real commitment of the food company toward social responsibility to the community, e.g. regarding nutritional education, sustainable development and adaptation to local geographical specifications. Those expectations are symbolised by a consumer needs pyramid: the basic requirement being consumer safety, the over consideration being product conformity to bring consumer satisfaction and, at the top, product superiority that brings consumer loyalty…

Microbiology: The genus Enterococcus: friend, foe or just passing by?

Issue 5 2013  •  4 November 2013  •  François Bourdichon, Corporate Food Safety, Microbiology and Hygiene Manager, Barry Callebaut

Taxonomy and classification of microorganisms are based on criteria that do not always, if ever, fit with the complexity of the microbial world. Commensal, starter, probiotic, pathogen? Since the early days of Pasteur and Koch, this approach is not anymore applicable for most of the major foodborne and/or waterborne microorganisms. In the past few years, due to the evolution of regulation and need for safety demonstration, microbiologists face the new challenge of understanding and demonstrating the mechanism of action (most commonly pleiotropic) of one organism in order to assess its potential application. Among the most debated genera, one might like to see how those consequences apply to the benefit / risk assessment of Enterococcus spp., formerly Streptococcus spp. Lancefield Group D or faecal Streptococci (for microbes also, sometimes the name does not help).

Food microbiology – still a very hot topic

Industry news, News  •  3 September 2013  •  Campden BRI

Microbiology issues are never far from the consciousness of those in the food chain and new issues are always arising…

Benefit risk assessment of microbial food cultures

Issue 5 2012  •  6 November 2012  •  François Bourdichon, Nestlé Research Centre; Joerg Seifert, International Dairy Federation and Egon Bech Hansen, Technical University of Denmark

Fermentation as a chemical process was initially described in the mid-19th century by Louis Pasteur as ‘a vie sans l’air’, the metabolic process of deriving energy from organic compounds without the involvement of an exogenous oxidising agent. Fermentation, as a process for manufacturing fermented foods, is today used more broadly than the historical definition of fermentation. Fermented foods have been subjected to the action of microorganisms during which desirable biochemical changes occur, causing significant modification to the food matrix2,13.

Fermented foods are typically associated with local and traditional food consumption. The growing body of evidence with regard to microorganisms and their ecological role in the food matrix has led to industrial application of the process of fermentation starting in the early 20th century through use of specific dedicated microbiota with various levels of characterisation.

In recent decades, the use of microbial food cultures (MFC) has come under various regulatory frameworks in many countries, directly or indirectly. Several of these regulatory frameworks put emphasis on ‘the history of use’, ‘traditional food’, or ‘general recognition of safety’ without clear guidelines for the expected level of evidence.

UHT processing of milk

Issue 3 2012  •  4 July 2012  •  Hilton Deeth, Emeritus Professor, University of Queensland

Milk is a highly perishable food so to enable it to be stored and distributed for consumption without spoilage, and without being a health risk through growth of pathogenic bacteria, it is heat treated. The most common type of heat treatment in many parts of the world is pasteurisation, which is performed at a minimum of 72°C for 15 seconds. This is the least heat treatment needed to destroy most pathogenic microorganisms and it also destroys most spoilage organisms. However, a small number of bacteria remain after pasteurisation and packaging, and can grow during storage. Such growth is slow at low temperature and consequently pasteurised milk is always kept refrigerated. Even under refrigeration, pasteurised milk only keeps for about two weeks1.

One way of extending the shelf-life of milk is to heat it at temperatures high enough to destroy almost all microorganisms, and then store it in sealed containers without contamination by bacteria. There are two ways in which this can be carried out: in-container sterilisation and ultrahigh- temperature (UHT) processing. Both produce a ‘commercially sterile’ product which means the milk does not contain micro – organisms which can grow under the normal conditions of storage which, in this case, is room temperature2,3.

In-container sterilisation, which uses canning technology, is a batch operation which involves heating the final containers of milk in an autoclave at 110-120°C for 10-20 minutes. By contrast, UHT processing involves heating the milk in a continuous flow system at about 140°C for a very short time – around five seconds.

Microbial food spoilage: A major concern for food business operators

Issue 3 2012  •  3 July 2012  •  François Bourdichon and Katia Rouzeau, Food Safety Microbiology, Quality and Safety Department, Nestlé Research Centre

‘Something is fishy’ is a widely used expression over a doubtful, suspicious situation, a good example of how mankind has taken advantage of microbial spoilage to assess the wholesomeness of a food product. The reduction of trimethylamine oxide to trimethylamine by bacteria associated primarily with the marine environment (e.g. Alteromonas and Vibrio) and animal intestines (Enterobacteriaceae) constitutes this major spoilage reaction during the storage of marine fish and typically identified ‘fishy’ as off note. The microbial alteration of fish can be therefore organoleptically identified by consumers, considering the food as suspicious for consumption1.

Spoilage of food involves any change which renders food unacceptable for human consumption and may result from a variety of causes, which include: Insect damage; Physical injury due to freezing, drying, burning, pressure, radiation; Activity of indigenous enzymes in plant and animal tissues; Chemical changes not induced by microbial or naturally occurring enzymes (These changes usually involve O2 and light and other than microbial spoilage are the most common cause of spoilage e.g. oxidative rancidity of fats and oils and the discolouration of cured meats); and growth and activity of microorganisms: bacteria, yeasts and moulds.


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