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The impact of functional genomics on microbiological food quality and safety

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Author: Brul, S. · Schuren, F. · Montijn, R. · Keijser, B.J.F. · Spek, H. van der · Oomes, S.J.C.M.
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:International Journal of Food Microbiology, 3, 112, 195-199
Identifier: 239737
doi: doi:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2006.04.014
Keywords: Biotechnology · Bacterial spore formers · Food preservation · Food processing · Genomics · Models · Resistance · amplified fragment length polymorphism · Bacillus subtilis · DNA microarray · DNA screening · food quality · food safety · functional genomics · gene sequence · heat tolerance · microbiological examination · molecular dynamics · nonhuman · quality control · sporogenesis · Bacillus subtilis · Colony Count, Microbial · Consumer Product Safety · Food Contamination · Food Microbiology · Genetic Markers · Heat · Humans · Microarray Analysis · Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length · Spores, Bacterial · Bacillus subtilis · Bacteria (microorganisms)


In the food processing industry, unwanted occurrence and growth of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms is a key concern. A prime example is the extremely heat resistant bacterial endospores, microbial survival structures, that create problems due to their ability to survive classical thermal treatments and their ability to subsequently germinate and form actively growing vegetative cells. Research on food spoilage Bacillus subtilis isolates using the Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) technology and micro-array technology has identified a number of genomic factors correlated to the level of spore heat resistance. Strains could be classified according to these genomic markers. In addition, it was shown with the sequenced B. subtilis laboratory strain that sporulation in the presence of in particular calcium ions in a cocktail of calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese and potassium promotes thermal resistance of developing spores. This physiological observation correlated with an increased expression during sporulation of genes encoding small acid soluble spore proteins. Screening of ingredients using DNA-chip based techniques identifying the above indicated molecular markers, should allow in the future the identification of the occurrence of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria and prediction of their thermal preservation stress resistance. Currently various projects aiming at the integration of genomics data and micro(nano)-technology, a prerequisite if the alluded to ingredient Quality Control is going to succeed, are running or are being set-up. Information from these projects will be used together with the requirements of product organoleptic quality to derive robust integrated food safety and food quality processing parameters. Such parameters should form the basis of future food Quality Assurance systems. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Chemicals / CAS: Genetic Markers