The Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation focuses on gathering knowledge (know how but especially know why) on the microbial behaviour in food products during harvesting/slaughtering, processing, storage, distribution and preparation. For this purpose, predictive microbiology and microbial analysis are considered as two essential areas of the research concept. Also mild preservation and decontamination techniques are examined to prolong the shelf life and to increase the microbial safety of food products. Quality assurance systems are implemented and analysed to enhance microbial food safety and quantitative data are collected in view of exposure assessment to allow more accurate microbial risk evaluations. Due to the economical interest, special attention is given to the mechanisms of microbial spoilage of food products.

Mission Laboratory for Food Microbiology and Food Preservation

To reach the challenging goals in these different areas, the Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation cooperates intensively with a lot of scientific partners within the department, faculty or University and outside the University. These partners have an expertise which is different from the one present in the Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation.

Moreover, the Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation has chosen to ensure the relevance of its research and education activities by a close collaboration with the food industry and its suppliers as well as with the government through its integrated services laboratory.

Future perspectives

  • The research will also in the future focus on microbial food safety, minimal preservation and predictive microbiology.
  • In the area of minimal preservation, new decontamination methods will be focused while the knowledge on the microbial aspects of food packaging will be further elaborated. Investments will be made in the research concerning the effects of minimal preservation on the occurrence of stress resistance and increased virulence of food pathogens.
  • In the field of microbial food safety, the development and evaluation of microbial analysis methods for the detection of food pathogens or their toxins will keep its central role. It concerns especially molecular techniques or microscopic techniques for pathogens that are difficult to detect with the classical culturing techniques, e.g. for viruses, viable but non-culturable cells and species taxonomically hard to identify. Also special attention will be given to mycotoxins from which especially the relation between environmental factors and mould growth and accompanied toxin production will be investigated.
  • By means of the further development of knowledge in the field of predictive microbiology, more quantitative insights in the microbial behavior in food products will be obtained. Especially models dealing with the individual lag phase, the growth/no growth interface, microbial interactions and predictive mycology will be focused.
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