Identification and characterisation of microorganisms is a key part of the
management of food safety and quality, tracing contaminants and troubleshooting problems such as
spoilage. Knowing how to identify bacteria or other unknown microorganisms that you have encountered can
help to assess whether it poses a safety/spoilage concern or is likely to be heat resistant, for
Sometimes, however, you need to know more - including where a contaminant came
from. Many organisms occupy a diverse range of habitats, and so the only way of knowing the origins of a
particular contaminant is to identify/characterise it to a specific strain and then match that with a
strain elsewhere in the environment or in a particular food ingredient.
Campden BRI is a world leader in this type of work, utilising state-of-the-art
molecular (DNA-based) biochemical and phenotypic methods - picking those that best solve your problems.
We can also offer back-up information as part of the service, such as details of possible sources of the
problem organisms, or information about known food poisoning outbreaks.
Among the techniques we use are:
These are all in our Microbial
identification and characterisation services brochure (5MB)
What do identification and characterisation entail?
Identification of microorganisms – provides the name of
the organism (to genus or species level), which can help in determining whether it is a safety or
spoilage concern or is likely to be heat resistant, for example.
Characterisation of microorganisms (typing) – this groups
together organisms that share similar DNA fragment patterns or antigenic profiles, to assist with
tracking or tracing contamination.