AF-16028 | Anti-clostridium solutions

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Projecttitel: Anti-clostridium solutions
Projectnummer: AF-16028
Kernthema: Gezond en Veilig
Looptijd: 2017 – 2020
Projectleider: Jasper Kieboom 
Betrokken partijen: CJ CheilJedang Corporation, General Mills, Kerry (Americas Region), Naturex, TNO, Wageningen University & Research


With the consumer demand for clean labels, milder processed and healthier foods, microbial food spoilage has reappeared on the innovation agenda. Especially, Clostridium botulinum is gaining renewed attention. Traditional approaches preventing C. botulinum spore outgrowth, such as stringent processing (‘botulinum cook’) and the use of artificial ingredients such as nitrite, do not meet current clean label consumer demands. Meeting these demands requires new anti-clostridium solutions using novel natural preservation strategies. Moreover, classically used screening methods often overlook potential C. botulinum development from spores, notably by ignoring (viable) spore quantification. To successfully identify innovative, clean and clear label, natural solutions, new, thorough and more complete yet simple microbial screening tools are required.

Goal and approach

The novelty of the approach in this project is that instead of using the commonly used growth vs. no growth as read-out for the efficacy of the preservative compounds, the effect of preservative compounds at various phases of the C. botulinum growth cycle will be determined and combined. Moreover, innovative, natural preservative solutions and their combinations obtained either through classical processes by commonly used solvents or via innovative eco-extraction techniques and/or green solvents will be here tested. This approach will provide a much better insight in the mechanistic action of natural preservatives and also allows for optimal combination of natural preservatives to achieve the best possible inhibition of C. botulinum. Using state-of-the-art technologies in eco-extraction for ingredient preservation and in relation to industrially relevant screening conditions, 5 interlinked work packages are defined. These are:
WP 1: Screening tools developments for clostridium strains
WP 2: Natural ingredient development with optimized anti-clostridium properties
WP 3: Ingredient screening & synergy
WP 4: Miniaturized foods development
WP 5: Application of developed solutions in food matrices

Desired impact

In summary, the proposed project aims at developing novel, natural anti-clostridium 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:

  1. 1. Medium throughput detection methods (scientific impact) for
  • early and late spore germination inhibition
  • discriminating dead from viable spores
  • determining vegetative growth
  • toxin production
  1. 2. Natural preservative compounds targeting spore germination or outgrowth of vegetative cells
  2. 3. Synergistic interactions between ingredients or between ingredients and possibly processes
  3. 4. Sustainable clean label food products


Rapportage 2017 

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