Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SYMBIOSIS-EU — Result In Brief

Project ID: 211638
Funded under: FP7-KBBE
Country: Greece

Non invasive analytical toolkits for ensuring meat safety & quality

EU-funded scientists are identifying microbial metabolites and other fingerprints indicative of meat spoilage to derive a low-cost analytical toolkit. Inclusion of predictive and preventive tools will contribute hugely to food safety.
Non invasive analytical toolkits for ensuring meat safety & quality
Quality control ensures that meat products are safe for human consumption. However, conventional methods such as regulatory inspection and sampling are time consuming and generally provide retrospective information that cannot be used in real time. Fourteen European and international partners initiated the EU-funded project SYMBIOSIS-EU to develop an innovative toolbox of inexpensive yet advanced techniques for reliable assessment of meat freshness, spoilage and safety.

Genomic and metabolomic profiling will help study changes in gene and metabolite expression, respectively, in selected bacteria. Changes are analysed with respect to intrinsic meat properties such as pH & nutrients and extrinsic conditions e.g temperature and packaging in order to develop assays for spoilage. Researchers determined the chemical spoilage profiles of numerous samples. This, enabled the identification of chemical and microbiological profiles that will act as indicators or indices of meat freshness and quality.

Having identified microbial metabolites of relevance to food safety, scientists developed assays employing advanced analytical methods. Spectroscopic techniques (Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy and fluorescent spectroscopy) identified the presence of compounds of interest. Additionally, devices that identify chemical compositions based on smell (volatile compounds’ detection with an electronic nose (e-nose)) and sight (VIDEOMETER imaging) were used. Meat quality and spoilage was also analysed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Partners have also developed relevant bioinformatics tools to utilise the data for evaluation of freshness and spoilage. Finally, scientists have created a promising — smart packaging technology using bioactive substances that inhibit or prevent the growth of certain bacteria.

SYMBIOSIS-EU is developing a cost-effective diagnostic toolkit for quality control of packaged meat that identifies and predicts growth of dangerous compounds. The provision of antimicrobial packaging along with the toolkit will significantly contribute to the safety and freshness of packaged meat in the EU.

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