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Optimisation of Food Processing Methods Based on Accurate Characterisation of Bacterial Lag Time using Analysis of Variance Techniques

Institute of Food Research, UK
Start date
End date
This project aims to develop new scientific insights into the potential of microorganisms to grow in foods and to survive preservative interventions applied during food processing by studying in detail the early phases of microbial growth, specifically the lag phase of vegetative cells and the germination of microbial spores.

The project will apply a novel quantitative method, based on Analysis of Variance techniques, to give an improved prediction of microbial lag time and growth in food. This would allow the optimisation of food processing methods, to ensure microbiological safety and quality. The distribution of the lag times of individual cells/spores will be measured by microscopic (automated image analysis) and turbidometric methods and analysed by stochastic mathematical models. The obtained distribution will be used to optimise earlier food process and treatment, and to predict the bacterial responses to the subsequent food environment accurately.

The proposal addresses problems of variation of the lag time of individual cells that are not addressed by current predictive microbiology.

Funding Source
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Project number
Predictive Microbiology