On July 11th, Principle Scientist Dr. Marjon Wells-Bennik will present on ‘Sporeformers in Food’ at the FEMS, 8th Congress of European Microbiologists in Glasgow, Scotland. The session will cover exciting recent developments related to the three major foodborne spore-forming bacteria, Bacillus cereus, Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium perfringens.
Spores of bacteria are ubiquitously present in the environment and thus in food ingredients and raw materials. Spores survive common heating processes such as pasteurization, but also higher heat treatments and many alternative processes. If viable spores end up in a finished food products that allow for outgrowth to high levels of the bacterium, consumption of such foods may lead to illness or even death. At NIZO, risk assessments on all of these important pathogens in foods are performed. Based on research carried out on one of these species, C. perfringens, as part of EU project CLOSPORE, it was found that the heat resistances of these spores may vary tremendously, which has consequences for calculating the effect of heating on spore inactivation. In addition, it was found that the available methods to determine the concentrations of C. perfringens in foods are not very selective, with other sulfite reducing clostridia being detected as well. Conditions that show the best performance to recover C. perfringens were evaluated. Via Dr. Wells-Bennik’s involvement in the ISO workgroup TC 34/SC 9/WG 23, these findings will be implemented in a new ISO method for the detection of Sulfite reducing clostridia and C. perfringens.