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Generic models for prediction of microbial behaviour

Keywords: quantitative microbiology, heterogeneity

Project duration: 3-6 months

Project description:

Both governments and industrial companies have an increased interest to perform risk analyses on food products. Based on the outcome of a risk assessment, risk managers take decisions regarding the safety or quality of a product. Therefore, microbial risk assessment (MRA) plays an important role in global trade and within the food industry.
One part of an MRA consists of a process evaluation, in which the increase or decrease of a pathogen or spoiler during the production process is estimated.

In order to perform such an MRA, data on characteristics of several organisms regarding growth and inactivation is needed. Factors that have to be quantified and included into the models are:
1) effects of strain variability (within species)
2) experimental variability
3) effects of the physiological state of cells (due to for example stress response, and/or representativeness of preculture conditions)
4) relevant product characteristics apart from T, pH, aw, acids, preservatives
5) within strain variability (both genetic changes and physiological variability).

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