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Optimisation of safe food processing methods based on accurate characterisation of bacterial lag time using analysis of variance techniques

Contract number : QLK1-2001-01145
Contract type : Shared Cost Project
Total cost : € 1.446.122
EC contribution : € 884.760
Starting date : 1/01/2002
Duration : 36 Months
Scientific Officer : Antonio di Giulio
Project website : not yet available
Dr József Baranyi
Institute of Food Research
Food Safety Science Division
Norwich Research Park, Colney
NR4 7UA Norwich
United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 1603 255 121
Fax: +44 1603 507 723
E-mail: jozsef.baranyi @

This project aims to develop and validate a novel quantitative method, based on Analysis of Variance techniques, to give an improved prediction of bacterial lag time and growth in food. This would allow the optimisation of food processing methods, to ensure microbiological safety and quality. The distribution of the lag times of individual cells/spores will be measured by microscopic (automated image analysis) and turbidometric methods and analysed by stochastic mathematical models. The obtained distribution will be used to optimise earlier food process and treatment, and to predict the bacterial responses to the subsequent food environment accurately. The proposal addresses problems of variation of the lag time of individual cells that are not addressed by current predictive microbiology.


The purpose of the project is to develop a method based on stochastic mathematical modelling techniques to improve the microbial safety and quality of food. It has three main objectives:

  • To optimise the effect of processing methods with respect to microbial safety and quality of the food.
  • To predict more accurately the probability of bacterial survival, lag and growth in food.
  • To develop a methodology which is able to utilise the information on the variability of individual cells and complements the current techniques of predictive microbiology.


Unilever Research Vlaardingen
Olivier V. Noortlaan 120
PO Box 114
3133 AT Vlaardingen
The Netherlands
The University of Reading
Whiteknights, PO Box 226
RG6 6AP Reading
United Kingdom
Group Danone
15, Avenue Galilée
92350 Le Plessis-Robinson
Uppsala University
Husargatan 3
PO Box 577
751 23 Uppsala
University of Complutense
Facultad de Veterinaria
28040 Madrid
University of Tasmania
Churchill Avenue
PO Box 252-54
7001 Hobart

Fifth Framework Programme

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