Psychrolab: Fast growing, psychrotrophic spoilage lactic acid bacteria in cold stored food products lead to significant shortening of the microbial shelf life.

01 January 2015 → 31 December 2016
Regional and community funding: various
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Other biological sciences
food quality
Project description

The broad target group of this PROJECT comprises all food companies that produce packaged (air, vacuum and modified atmosphere) foods that are kept cool. This group is very spacious and includes producers of meat products, dairy and cheese, fresh pizza and meat substitutes, pre-cut fruit and vegetables, salads, meat, poultry, processed potatoes, juices, fish, ready meals, ... The large target group represents 18% of all-food companies, 35% of sales, 39% of employment and 53% of exports.
Within the broad target group, the meat industry is the largest subgroup with 42% of the turnover of the broad target group. The companies will be able to determine the microbiological contamination of their products, or to acquire knowledge about the ecology of psychotrophic spoilage organisms. more specifically, the specific psychotropic spoilage organisms of their own products, about their sources and about how they can take remedial actions.
The valorisation potential is situated in an increased knowledge of the subject in the target group and in controlling the problems of the psychotrophic lactic acid bacteria in a substantiated and targeted manner. By offering quality products on the market until the end of the expiry date, the companies retain their competitiveness and market share. By keeping the shelf life under control, the companies maintain their good reputation and avoid image damage as a result of decay caused by psychotrophic lactic acid bacteria. With a guaranteed shelf life, there is less need to clean instrumentation quickly and often, allowing longer runs, which leads to increased profitability and less loss. Finally, reducing short shelf life also offers an answer to the social problem of food losses.
Also for companies that are active in the field of cleaning and disinfection there are valorisation possibilities. The knowledge of the sources of this microbial spoilage will lead to an innovation in the field, so that better cleaning and disinfection processes can be proposed. This in turn has an effect on the professional image of the companies and on turnover.
In Flanders, better understanding of the problems and the knowledge of remedial actions offers a competitive advantage over companies in regions where the problem is not yet well managed.