Microbiology lab

New insights for spoilage, shelf life and contamination of meat and fish products with advanced microbial profiling (AMP)

AMP is a powerful DNA technique that we use at Campden BRI to determine the unique mix of microorganisms in a sample (its microbiome) without needing to culture them in the lab.

AMP can benefit the whole of the food industry, but in this white paper I will focus on the ways we have been using AMP for meat and fish products to reveal:

Do you really know what organism is spoiling your product?

If you have a spoilage issue and we identify the culprit organism using traditional techniques, we place dilutions of the food sample on different selective agar plates. The types of agar, the incubation temperature and duration would be chosen by microbiologists based on what organisms they expect to be in the sample from experience of similar products. Injured organisms, organisms that may affect quality or shelf life of your product, or major spoilage groups which are present in your product – even in large numbers – can remain “invisible” simply because they cannot grow on the chosen agars. Whilst this is currently the method used across the industry, there is a chance that the organism identified as the spoiler is not to blame and has merely been selected for by the growth conditions chosen by the investigator.

AMP reduces experimental biases that occur when using selective agar-based approaches

The chart below compares the genus/genera of bacteria and their abundance that were identified in raw beef burgers using AMP, plate count agar (PCA) and violet red bile glucose agar (VG). PCA is a non-selective agar that is used to assess the total viable bacteria in a sample and VG is selective for Enterobacteriaceae.

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