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.