The team of scientists from GATC Biotech and the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) will explore the causes of cheese spoilage using genomic sequencing to identify differences in microbial organisms in gone-off cheeses
Dr. Kerstin Stangier, Director Business Development at GATC Biotech told DairyReporter.com that the approach will isolate DNA and rNA data from samples of both good and spoiled cheese in order to test for differences in microorganism populations and functions.
The process will use multiplatform high-throughput genomic sequencing technologies to identify both the type and levels of organisms present in both the spoiled and unspoiled cheeses. The team will then investigate differences in the samples of spoiled and unspoiled cheeses to identify microbial changes that may play important roles in the spoilage process.
Stangier said that although the research project is using cheese as an initial mode, the long term plan is to use the principles and techniques developed for the project to perform similar research in other foods, including other dairy products, meats, fish and other areas of processed food production.
“You can transfer this easily to other areas of foods where microorganisms play a role, which is more or less everywhere,” Stangier explained.
“It’s always important to have a real idea of what’s going on in the microbial communities,” she added.
GATC Biotech said that the new methods could help to provide quality assurance and valuable information concerning food safety quality control, optimization of production yields as well as food production processes.
Using genome analysis the research will build a picture of the genetic population of the microbes present on the cheeses, which Stangier said will allow them to not just identify the microbes present, but also know the numbers of each microbe that are present, what each microbe in transcribing, and whether changes in the transcriptions are one of the causes of spoilage.
“This should be finished in the next half a year … so that we then something we can apply to other industries,” said Stangier.
She added that the GATC Biotech andETH Zurich team hopes to have some initial results within the next few months.