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spoilage From March 2009 newsletter

Predicting microbial spoilage

Microbial spoilage significantly affects the quality and shelf-life of many food and drink products. Research at Campden BRI has led to the further development and use of predictive models of microbial growth. The work will be of value to companies applying or wishing to apply the approach to their products - perhaps as part of product reformulation. It also strengthens the expertise available to members via the FORECAST predictive microbiology service.

One study focused on the microbial spoilage of fresh produce as affected by the growth of natural microbial flora such as Pseudomonas and Enterobacteriaceae at a range of temperatures and different modified atmospheres. Another has modelled how specific factors such as temperature, salt and pH - alone, in combination and when fluctuating - influence the growth of Enterobacteriaceae, which affect a range of chilled and ambient products. Meanwhile, models of yeasts provide predictions with soft and alcoholic drinks.

This predictive microbiology research complements studies in which the efficacy of specific preservative factors, such as salt, potassium chloride, pH and water activity, was evaluated, as was that of 'novel' antimicrobials such as essential oils.Together, these studies also help inform reformulation projects.

They are described in a series of reports available to members electronically. To obtain a list, send an e-mail to with the subject line: send index

Contact: Gail Betts
+44(0)1386 842071