Project: Intelligent process and product design using new predictive tools
The food industry faces the combined challenge of extending product shelf life whilst reducing the preservation factors that control pathogens and spoilage organisms. One potential approach to achieve these goals is to develop products that use a combination of control factors. Product shelf life and stability are often evaluated using microbial predictive models, which give an indication of the impact of preservation factors and process measures on microbial survival. However, these models have a number of limitations: overestimating the potential effects of reformulation; the number and combinations of preservation factors that can be included in a single search; and the need for microbial growth to predict survival and potential for growth. The project will explore the use of molecular markers as novel tools that have the potential ability to enhance the prediction process using a holistic approach which is capable of evaluating multiple factors simultaneously. These unique tools will enable industry to determine the potential lethality of production processes and product composition, in an efficient and unbiased way.