AF-18048 | Synergy 4 shelf life

Bert van Rees2019, Kernthema Gezond en Veilig, Project, TKI-projecten

Projecttitel: Synergy 4 shelf life
Projectnummer: AF-18048
Missie: Gewaardeerd, gezond en veilig voedsel
MMIP: Duurzame en veilige verwerking (D4)
Looptijd: 2019 – 2022
Projectleider: Joost Blankenstijn


Consumers ask for clean labels, milder processed and healthier foods. Because of this demand controlling microbial food spoilage, food safety and quality during the complete shelf life period is a huge challenge. At the same time, food losses are a major concern worldwide. Microbial spoilage plays an important role in these losses. The reason for addition of artificial preservatives to food products and stringent processing is evident: inactivation of micro-organisms, inactivation of enzymes and prevention of (future) growth in foods. Reduction of these preservation hurdles leads in many cases mainly to a shorter shelf life due to growth of spoilage microorganisms, but in case of pathogens it may even lead to public health concerns. Many foods do not rely on a single controlling factor but rather use combined preservation methods to assure safety and shelf-life.Meeting consumers demands requires new – scientifically proven – solutions using novel natural preservation strategies. To successfully identify innovative, clean and clear label, natural  solutions, new, thorough and more complete yet simple microbial screening tools are required to identify synergistic combinations.

The challenge is to identify synergistic actions of low dose natural antimicrobials in combination with mild preservation hurdles to meet the clean label/mild processing demands. The novelty of the approach in this project is that natural antimicrobials will be investigated at lower, sensorial acceptable, concentrations in conjunction with other preservation hurdles. Using state-of-the-art technologies for preservation and in relation to industrially relevant screening conditions, 7 interlinked work packages are defined. These are:

  • WP 1: Screening tools development
  • WP 2: Ingredient screening
  • WP 3: Technology screening
  • WP 4: Synergistic effects
  • WP 5: Model food screening
  • WP 6: End-product validation
  • WP 7: Mathematical modelling

The proposed project aims at developing novel, natural antimicrobial preservation solutions , thereby allowing food manufacturers (impact for the food sector) to produce safe, natural, high-quality, clean label food products (impact for the society). The following deliverables are intended:

  • Screening tools (scientific impact) for efficient selection and efficacy testing of both single antimicrobial compounds and combinations
  • Natural preservative compounds targeting outgrowth of fungi, lactobacilli, Salmonella and/or Listeria
  • Synergistic interactions between ingredients or between ingredients and mild processes
  • Clean label food products

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