Important legal notices
Home Index Introduction Index by contract number Index by coordinator Other information

Rapid detection of microbial contaminants in food products
using electronic nose technology

Contract number : QLK1-2000-01763
Contract type : Shared Cost Project
Total cost : € 1.494.712
EC contribution : € 1.129.462
Starting date : 1/12/2000
Duration : 36 Months
Scientific Officer : Dyanne Bennink
Project website :
Prof. Dr Naresh Magan
Cranfield University
Institute of Bioscience and Technology
MK43 OAL Silsoe, Bedford
United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 1234 754339
Fax: +44 1234 750907
E-mail: N.Magan @

There is a need for the rapid and easy cost effective detection of undesirable harmful microbial contaminants, toxins and taints in the dairy and bakery product industries. This project will examine the use of innovative electronic nose (e .nose) detection systems for the early detection of bacteria yeasts and filamentous fungi and off-odours in these related economically important industries. In vitro, and in situ studies using food matrices will be utilised for the detection and differentiation between spoilage microorganisms, physiological tainting, and toxigenic and non-toxigenic species. Interlaboratory validation will be carried out with four different e.nose systems for optimising detection. In collaboration with e.nose technology companies, and end users testing will be carried out in dairy and bakery product companies and the cost/benefit analyses for exploitation of the technology quantified for commercial exploitation.

  • In vitro studies on early detection and differentiation between important bacteria, yeasts and filamentous fungi in these three food matrices.
  • Differentiation between physiological non-microbial food taints and microbial odours.
  • Determine the potential for differentiation between toxin and non-toxigenic microorganisms in the food matrices and comparisons with bioassay systems.
  • Examination of food grain and flour for detection of fungal contaminants and sensitivity of detection.
  • Evaluate the potential for using e.nose systems for screening and evaluating food-grade preservative levels and shelf-life quality.
  • Using laboratory scale food analogues to examine the sensitivity and the recognition of spoilage microorganisms in relation to legislative permissible microbial contamination levels, in relation to traditional methods of analyses.
  • Collaborative studies between laboratories to validate the methodology; Optimise sampling protocols, multiple contaminant testing.
  • Testing of e.nose systems in food processing plants for quality control and production and successful differentiation between good (acceptable) and poor (rejected) quality products and comparison with existing criteria.
  • Quantification (cost/benefit analyses) for exploitation of the market and commercial take up of this technology by these food industries.
(expected) Results and achievements
  • Rapid discrimination between activity of different spoilage microorganisms and toxigenic and non-toxigenic species for the first time in milk, cheese and bakery products in vitro and in situ and comparisons with bioassay systems.
  • Relationship between legislative requirements for microbial levels and sensitivity of e.nose systems in these media.
  • Correlation between existing colony count methods and enzymatic assays with e.nose systems for the first time.
  • Rapid methods for the early detection of individual and mixed populations of spoilage microorganisms in food matrices.
  • Potential and usefulness for screening for efficacy of preservatives for improving shelf-life.
  • Evaluation of the use of e.nose systems for accurate quality control systems in situ in processing plants in relation to the production of milk, cheese and bakery products.
  • First ever detailed collaborative study of e.nose systems for application in these food industries.
  • Provide a wide range of generic data exploitable by the partners for expanding the market for e.nose systems.
  • Cost/benefit analyses of the use of e.nose technology for these specific food-based applications.


University of Lleida
Food Technology Department.
Rovira Roure, 177
25198 Lleida
Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association
Microbiology Department
Chipping, Campden
Gl55 6LD Gloucestershire
United Kingdom
Technical University of Denmark
Department of Biotechnology
Building 221
2800 Lyngby
National Veterinary and Food Research Institute
Department of Chemistry
Hameentie 57
PO Box 368
00231 Helsinki
VTT Biotechnology and Food Research Institute
Biologinkuja 1, Espoo
PO Box 1500
02044-VTT Espoo
Federal Center for Meat Research
Institute for Microbiology and Toxicology
E.-C. Baumann-Str. 20
95326 Kulmbach
Bloodhound Sensors Ltd
175 Woodhouse Lane
LS22 3AR Leeds
United Kingdom
Granja Castello, Quality Control and r & d Department
Ferreri Busquets, 125
PO Box 5
25230 Mollerusa, Lleida
Environics Oy
Työmiehenktu 2
PO Box 349
50101 Mikkeli

Fifth Framework Programme

PDF Version


Volume 1 (PDF 2.9 MB)


Volume 2 (PDF 1.9 MB)


Last update



[ Index ]    [ Introduction ]    [ Index by contract number ]    [ Index by coordinator ]    [ Others ]