The principal objective of this project will be to improve the quality of agro-industrial products (especially but not exclusively food products) by applying low levels of novel natural antimicrobial systems in combination with reduced levels of traditional physical and chemical food preservation processes.
The work will address the effects of new natural food preservatives such as bacteriocins, enzymes, chitosan, herbs, spices etc. in combination with milder forms of traditional preservation systems such as pasteurization, refrigeration, acids, benzoates, sulphites etc. on pathogenic and spoilage organisms in foods and associated with food processing. The ecological interactions of microorganisms with each other and with the components of foods (proteins, carbohydrates, fats, etc.) will form an important aspect of this work. The maintenance and/or improvement of the sensorial as well as microbial quality of food products will be of paramount importance. The food products selected for study will include fresh sausages, pate,
cured meat products (ham and bacon), low-fat cheese spread, lowsugar preserves, beer, salads and fruit and vegetables (fresh and minimally processed). There will be an element of predictive microbiology using mathematical modelling techniques.
The potential for replacing chemical biocides used for cleaning of industrial surfaces with novel natural antimicrobial compounds will be investigated. The usefulness of natural antimicrobial compounds in non-food applications such as cut flowers will also
be studied. Any potential toxicological consequences of novel antimicrobial compounds will be tested. Finally, novel extraction methods and enzymic upgrading techniques will be investigated in an attempt to extend the utility of selected existing and novel natural antimicrobial compounds, especially bacteriocins and chitosan.
The multidisciplinary scientific team consists of several food microbiologists, biochemists, biotechnologists, a chemical engineer, a post-harvest technologist and food product developers. The scientific partners come from three universities in the UK, Ireland and Greece; one commercial research institute in France; and one agricultural research institute in the Netherlands. The industrial consortium consists of 8 companies including food processors, ingredient manufacturers and non-food
companies. Two of the companies are SMEs and one is a public body with statutory responsibilities towards numerous meat processing companies, many of which are SMEs. The partners come from 7 European countries, including representatives from the less-favoured regions of Europe. The combination of specialist academic expertise with industrial end-users will ensure the successful realization of this project's objectives.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
118 55 Athens - Votanikos
6700 AA Wageningen