One of the major consumer trends in the food sector is ensuring healthy foods made with “natural” ingredients. As a result, food companies are constantly looking for new ingredients with a focus on replacing chemically produced compounds by natural ones or for ways to reduce undesired ingredients such as salt or sugar. Bacteria are able to produce natural “clean label” ingredients which can be introduced by fermentation.

Reduction of fats and salts using fermentation

FrieslandCampina and VION jointly worked with us in a consortium that aimed at lowering the salt content of cheese and meat products, whilst retaining a good flavour profile. We are able to screen the functionality of microorganisms within any food or beverage matrix at a micro-scale using our MicroFood System. During the project our scientists have shown the importance of in-product screening in the NIZO MicroCheese system and discovered options to direct microbial metabolism for flavour formation. Up to 600 individual cheeses a day (200 mg each) can be produced using this system for optimising flavour development. In addition, this system has been used to prevent unfavourable outgrowth of pathogenic bacteria that compromise safety. Using this expertise, a low fat/low salt cheese was developed together with FrieslandCampina and successfully introduced to the market . 

Clean label preservation

The MicroFood System is also routinely used for assessment of shelf-life stability. Most recent projects focus on use of clean label preservatives including acetic acid, lactic acid or many other ingredients. Many of these preservatives are more effective when added in a particular combination. Testing these combinations of the different preservatives for various spoilage organisms requires a large set of conditions to be assessed. NIZO has set up a high-throughput viable cell count assay that allows the number of live spoilage organisms to be followed in thousands of conditions simultaneously in the NIZO MicroFood System. This method has been used to optimise the preservation conditions for specific food products.

Are you interested in a clean label solution for your product?


Bachman H, Kruijswijk Z, Molenaar D, Kleerebezem M, Van Hylkema Vlieg JET, A high-thoughput cheese manufacturing model for effective cheese starter culture screening, J Dairy Sci. (2009): 92(12); 5868-5882

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